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President to inaugurate country’s first wind farm today

Pakistan’s first 50 negawatt wind energy project in Jhimpir of Thatta is set to begin its commercial operations on Monday (today) after a formal inauguration by President Asif Ali Zardari.

The wind farm, established by Fauji Fertiliser Company Energy Limited (FFCEL), a subsidiary of Fauji Fertiliser, was already connected to the national grid and had supplied two Gigawatts hour (GWhs) of electricity to the National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC).

“The commencement of commercial operations means we will start the supply of 143.6 GWhs to the national grid, which we are bound to provide to NTDC within a year,” Project Director FFECL Wind Farm Brigadier (rtd) Tariq Izaz told a group of journalists who visited the wind project on Sunday.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Alternate Energy Development Board (AEDB) Arif Allaudin, Secretary AEDB Anwar Ally and officials of the FFCEL were also present on the occasion.

Comprising 33 wind turbines of 1.5 MW each, the total cost of the wind energy project stood at $134 million, Brigadier Izaz said. He added that the project was completed in a record time of around 10 months, despite various hurdles and challenges.

The FFCEL Wind Energy project director appreciated the AEDB’s efforts to help his company acquire land for the project. He added that the AEDB remained available to overcome challenges and obstacles faced by investors in materialising the country’s first wind power project.

“Actually the Gharo-Keti Bandar wind corridor, where our wind project is located, is like a wind mine, but unlike other mines of coal or any other mineral, this mine’s resources will never be exhausted” he said. The brigadier said that the FFECL had tried to tap a mere fraction of the 50,000 MW electricity generation potential of the area.

“President Asif Ali Zardari has accepted our request and he is expected to carry out a soft inauguration of the project on Monday,” Izaz claimed.

Responding to queries about the future plans of the company, he said that wind turbines and related installations had occupied only 30 percent of the allotted land and there were plans to install solar panels on the vacant area to generate electricity.

Following the formal inauguration of the project on Monday, independent engineers agreed upon by both FFCEL and AEDB would conduct the Reliability Run Test (RRT) of the entire project, he said.

Speaking on the occasion, CEO of AEDB, Arid Allaudin, praised the FFCEL team for its achievement and hoped that within the next few months, several companies would either start test runs or begin commercial operations of their wind projects.

“In fact, the Gharo-Keti Bandar wind corridor has both wind and solar power production potential and due to a drastic increase in prices of panels in recent days, more investment is arriving in the solar power sector in Pakistan” he stated.

The journalists were also taken to the Turkish Zorlo Energy’s 56.4 MW wind project, which is near completion, as its 33 wind turbines, including 28 of 1.8 MW and 5 of 1.2 MW, were installed and undergoing various stages of testing.

“Zorlo Energy wind power project is also ready for commercial production and we hope that our project will start by January next year,” Project Director Mumtaz Hassan told newsmen in his briefing.

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