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Small, medium power projects in the offing

The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority has received several generation licence applications for small and medium scale power generation units, as the government is actively pursuing policies to increase electricity supply, said an official.

As per details, SAR Energy has submitted a generation licence application for a 1.3 MW hydropower project in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with a cost of $4.9 million and SSJD Bioenergy has submitted its application for a 12 MW biomass based thermal power project.

Meanwhile, Lotte Power Gen has proposed to set up a 48.1 MW thermal power project in Karachi for $35 million and Kamalia Sugar Mills has proposed a 17MW thermal power project in Toba Tek Singh. These projects are expected to commence within three to four years from the date of financial closure.

The official said that in order to ensure security of energy supplies, the government is required to pursue policies for increasing domestic supplies, attracting foreign investment, diversifying imports to include natural gas coal and electricity, encouraging economic inter-fuel substitution, promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy and supporting regional and inter-regional cooperation.

Most importantly, the government through the Water and Power Development Authority and private sector, seeks to concentrate on water and power projects in the next five years, including construction of large, medium and small dams, canals and transmission lines for dispersal of power from hydropower projects to load centres of the national grid.

Currently, Pakistan has 21,000 MW of installed capacity for electricity generation. Conventional thermal plants, using oil, natural gas and coal account for about 67.3 percent of installed capacity with hydroelectric making up 29.4 percent.

Based on the present generation capacity, the hydel-thermal mix in the country is 29.4:67.3, which is almost the opposite of an ideal hydel-thermal mix, i.e. 70:30 for economic development of Pakistan. Though induction of thermal generation initially helped in overcoming power outages, it also resulted in substantial increase in power tariff. —Javed Mirza

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