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Punjab to provide subsidy on tube-wells: minister

Provincial Minister for Energy and Mines Ch. Sher Ali on Friday said that the Punjab government would provide subsidy on agricultural tube-wells to the farmers in Punjab along with energy generation.

He was presiding over a meeting at Energy Secretariat with China Power Engineering Consulting Group. He said that the Rs 50 billion would be saved after converting the agricultural tube-wells into bio-gas. He said that the government had allocated billions of rupees for providing energy and each and every rupee was being spent carefully and honestly.

He said that the government was trying to ensure maximum use of solar energy in home appliances, street lights, offices, commercial plazas and housing societies. The provincial minister said that the first 50 megawatts solar plant in Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park in Cholistan would provide energy in the beginning of next year. Although, better energy production results would also come out with the 120 megawatt hydle project on canal water at Taunsa Barrage.

The minister said that the government was taking special steps for generating energy from solar, thermal and coal, besides other alternative resources, and it was not wasting any opportunity for generating energy.

He said that, with the crystal clear process, the energy companies were being facilitated with maximum opportunities for utilizing the solar energy at every place and any level of our life, so that, the required results could be achieved. The provincial Energy secretary asked the technical questions from the Chinese Project Manager and other members and also introduced the facilities in the energy sector given by the Punjab government to the energy companies.

China Power Engineering Consulting Group also briefed the participants on the history and progress of different solar and thermal projects in China.

Two uplift schemes approved

THE Punjab government on Friday has approved two development schemes of irrigation and energy sectors, which will cost Rs. 245.239 million.

A spokesperson for P&D said that these schemes were approved at a special meeting of Provincial Development Working Party of current fiscal year 2013-14 presided over by Punjab Planning and Development Board Chairman Muhammad Irfan Elahi. Punjab Secretary P&D Arif Anwar Baloch, all members of Planning & Development Board, provincial secretaries concerned and other senior representatives of relevant Provincial Departments also attended the meeting. The approved development schemes included Canal Water Supply for the Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park Lal Sohanra, District Bahawalpur, at a cost of Rs. 152.556 million and Preparation of Master Plan and Feasibility Report of the Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park, Lal Shohanra Park, Bahawalpur (Amended PC-II), at a cost of Rs. 92.683 million.

Electricity prices to stabilise in two years: Minister

At a time when the government is raising electricity tariffs and phasing out power subsidy, the Minister of State for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali gave hope to the masses by saying that the government will gradually reduce and stabilise the power tariff within the next two years.

Ali was, however, putting all his eggs in one basket as he relied on the realisation of the memorandum of understandings signed within three months to produce power from coal by the government.

“We are working day and night to shift the energy mix towards cheaper sources as the present energy mix, where power generation relies on diesel and furnace oil, is proving costly,” said Ali.

Resolution of the energy crisis was our (the government’s) top priority, thus installing coal-based power plants, hydropower projects and conversion of oil-powered plants to coal was the government’s main concern, Ali said while talking to the media at the National Engineering and Services (Nespak) complex.

The government was working to overcome the energy crisis for good by focusing on short, medium and long-term strategies, the minister added.

The National Energy Policy 2013, the first consensus-based document of its kind, had clearly outlined the objectives to transform Pakistan from being an energy-starved country to being self-sufficient in terms of energy, he said. “The nation will observe each passing day, better in terms of electricity generation,” Ali added.

The minister was visiting the Nespak complex to be briefed on the ongoing energy projects in the country for which Nespak was providing engineering consultancy services. The projects included the 969-megawatt (MW) Neelum-Jhelum Dam, 747MW combined-cycle power plant at Guddu, 500 kilovolt substation and association transmission lines in Rahim Yar Khan, rehabilitation of 22MW Jabban hydropower project and the Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline project.

The Gomal Zam powerhouse has been completed, and the government is hopeful that the 22MW-Jabban power project and 130MW Duber Khwar will start feeding the national grid from next month. Apart from that, 150MW more will be added to the national grid, the minister said.

Overcoming energy crisis: Engineers suggest a mix of alternative energy resources

Engineers on Saturday recommended that the government invest in hydel power projects and indigenous production of small-scale power generation equipment to overcome the energy crisis.

The suggestions came on the sidelines of the 46th annual convention of the Institution of Engineers, Pakistan (IEP) and an accompanying technical seminar, “Exploitation of Indigenous Energy Resources including Hydel, Coal and Alternative Energy.” Several engineers who attended the seminar favoured hydel power as the best long-term solution for the country.

“We should’ve built a dam every 10 years,” said IEP member Col (retd) Khalid Mehmood, lecturer at Fatima Jinnah Women University, who emphasised the need for more dams.

Wapda engineer, Muhammad Idrees said two things that would help solve the power crisis are “more investment in hydel power projects and a stronger foreign policy to deal with regional water issues,” adding that “hydropower is long-term and provides the cheapest tariff.”

During the first technical session at the seminar, Lt Gen (retd) Muhammad Zubair, chief executive officer of the Neelum-Jehlum Hydro Power Company, gave a talk on the progress of the project. Zubair said the timely completion of the project would reduce supply-demand gap and allow the government to beat the Indian claim on Neelum River’s water rights. He also mentioned that the Heavy Mechanical Complex (HMC), Taxila, was manufacturing 16 megawatt (MW) hydropower plants.

Later, several participants commented that such indigenisation of machinery and technology should be promoted to reduce export dependency and create employment opportunities adding that HMC’s 16MW solution would be ideal for run-of-the-river projects and electricity from such projects could serve local communities in off-grid solutions.

In another session, geologist Hasan Gauhar said, “Power generation from Thar coal is unlikely to be cost-effective but it should be looked into.”

Participants were of the opinion that coal-based power might not be eco-friendly but mitigation techniques could help minimise its negative impact. Pakistan should look at developing an efficient and cheap mix of alternative energy sources.

The IEP is a national organisation of professional engineers founded in 1948, with around 50,000 members.

Canadian company to install 500MW solar projects: CM Shahbaz

Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that national economy, industry, agriculture, education, health and other social sectors have been badly affected due to energy crisis being faced by the country.

According to a handout issued on Saturday, he was talking to a representative delegation of a Canadian Solar Energy Company which met him, here Saturday.

Speaking on the occasion, the CM said that the government is committed to overcome the energy crisis and rid the people of agony of outages. He said that steps are being taken on emergent basis for coping with the problem of energy shortage. The CM said that agreements have been made with the local and foreign energy companies and investors for installing new projects of generating energy. He said that Canadian Solar Energy Company has agreed to install 500MW solar energy projects in Punjab. He said that the first project of 100MW will be completed in four months whereas 400MW projects would be completed in two years.

Shahbaz Sharif said that vast opportunities of investment are available in energy sector in Punjab and the Canadian investors can benefit from it. He said that special facilities and incentives are being provided to the investors in energy sector. He said that every possible facilities and incentives would be given to the Canadian investors in energy sector. The chief minister said that the interest shown by Canadian Solar Company for setting up 500MW solar energy projects in Punjab is a welcome step and a formal agreement would be made with Canadian company for this purpose. He said that Punjab government is working on generating energy through alternative sources as overcoming the shortage of energy is utmost essential for enhancing job opportunities and accelerating pace of industrialisation. Shahbaz Sharif said that Punjab government is speedily working on energy projects by making energy sector its priority and transparent completion of these projects is being ensured.

He said that the government has taken solid measures for conservation of energy. He said that planning has been made to shift government schools and hospitals on solar energy under a phased programme. Likewise, streetlights and traffic signals of big cities are also being converted on solar energy, he added.

Briefing the chief minister about the solar energy projects in Punjab, the members of the Canadian Solar Energy Company said that their company is interested in installing 500MW solar energy projects in the province and the work will be carried out speedily.

The Bear’s energy embrace

Russia has made Pakistan an offer it can’t refuse, though not in the mafiosi sense of the phrase. In a meeting with Pakistan’s minister for Planning and Development, Ahsan Iqbal, the visiting Russian deputy minister for Energy hinted at a whole range of benefits which could accrue to the energy-starved nation in case of increased cooperation between them in this vital field. Foremost among these was the export of up to 5,000 MW of electricity through Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan. Apart from this, the other mouth-watering offerings included massive Russian investment in Pakistan’s energy infrastructure, as for instance in converting the prohibitively expensive oil and gas based power producing plants to coal–fired ones encompassing modern technology. As a corollary, this would of course imply Russian investment in the mining and unlocking of our astronomical Thar coal reserves, which remain unutilised due to our perpetual paucity of funds, at least for projects of such national importance. The export of LNG and Russian expertise and roubles in oil exploration also figure in the catalogue. The Russian deputy minister reportedly also offered 100 per cent technical and financial assistance for the Jamshoro and Muzaffargarh power plants and was also favourably inclined towards investing in the Gaddani Power Park.

This appears on paper to be the panacea for all of Pakistan’s energy ills. That the delegation included representatives of all the leading Russian energy companies is an indicator of Russian seriousness in the recent exchanges between the two ministers. Pakistan would do well to respond to these welcome overtures in a similar spirit of cooperation and resolve, unlike the (presumably) ill-fated Pak-Iran pipeline, which still remains only a pipe dream. It should cut out the red tape and fast-track the Russian suggestions and offers. However, all the well laid plans will ultimately depend on the regional ground realities existing after the American exit from Afghanistan in 2014. Can the Afghan government and military weather the expected Taliban storm, or will the unfortunate country descend once again into chaos, with local infighting between different groups, the rise of warlordism and an arena for geopolitical rivalries, as in the not too distant past? Russia’s renewed interest in Pakistan is in direct proportion or relation to what happens in Afghanistan. President Vladimir Putin, who has slowly resurrected Russian armed might and international influence after the downfall of the Soviet Union, has remarked that Afghanistan is a ‘matter of direct concern for our national security’.

The thaw in the relations between Russia and Pakistan is now an established fact. In the 1970s the Russian’s built our only steel mill (about which the less said the better at this time), now they have increased contacts between the military high commands of the two nations and recently initiated the first Strategic Dialogue with Pakistan in Moscow initially at the foreign secretaries level, for closer political, diplomatic, economic and military relations. But much remains to be done especially on our part, so that the present two-way trade volume of a paltry US $542 million is raised to its rightful figure in the billions.

Govt to execute low cost hydro power projects

Minister of State for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali said the government will execute the low cost hydro power projects on priority basis to overcome energy crisis. Speaking at a meeting in Lahore‚ he directed the WAPDA authorities to complete Dabir Khawar and Jaban power projects by October this year. Chairman WAPDA briefed the Minister about the progress of the ongoing hydro projects in the country.

Russia offers 5,000MW of electricity through Afghanistan

Russia has offered Pakistan to export up to 5,000 megawatt electricity through the Kyrgyzstan-Afghanistan route.

A high-level Russian energy delegation is visiting Pakistan to extend cooperation in all fields of energy, ranging from import of electricity to LNG, natural gas, coal power production and oil and gas exploration.

The Russian delegation led by deputy minister for energy comprised representatives of major energy companies.The delegation met Ahsan Iqbal, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms, here on Thursday to discuss cooperation in the energy sector.

“We are very much encouraged with the new government and Russian investors are eager to invest in the energy sector of Pakistan”, Russia’s deputy minister for energy in his opening remarks said.

Ahsan Iqbal, said “there is a lot of potential between both the countries for cooperation. We have not yet tapped even 10 percent of what we can.“We welcome Russian investment in our energy sector. We have good memories of cooperation in the past like the construction of the Pakistan Steel.

“We are in the centre of three major engines of growth which puts us at strategically an important position. South Asia, China and Central Asia represent a market of three billion people. Russian investors should take advantage of this opportunity.”

Russian deputy minister stressed the need of constituting a working group to tap the potential of energy cooperation between the two countries.Russian delegation also offered cooperation in modernising existing thermal plants and shifting them into coal-fired technology. Russian investors offered 100% technical and financial solutions for the Jamshoro and Muzaffargarh power plants. They also showed interest to invest in Gaddani Power Park.

Russia is building hydro-power plants in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan including 3900MW project in Kyrgyzstan and looking for new markets to export cheap electricity. Russian delegation made an initial offer of 1000MW which would subsequently be increased to 5000MW.

This electricity will be available throughout the year. Russian companies also showed interest in export of LNG and oil exploration in Pakistan.Ahsan Iqbal said “we have bad as well as good memories of past.Now is the time to forget the bad memories and look into the future”.

Electricity prices to stabilise in two years: Minister

At a time when the government is raising electricity tariffs and phasing out power subsidy, the Minister of State for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali gave hope to the masses by saying that the government will gradually reduce and stabilise the power tariff within the next two years.

Ali was, however, putting all his eggs in one basket as he relied on the realisation of the memorandum of understandings signed within three months to produce power from coal by the government.

“We are working day and night to shift the energy mix towards cheaper sources as the present energy mix, where power generation relies on diesel and furnace oil, is proving costly,” said Ali.

Resolution of the energy crisis was our (the government’s) top priority, thus installing coal-based power plants, hydropower projects and conversion of oil-powered plants to coal was the government’s main concern, Ali said while talking to the media at the National Engineering and Services (Nespak) complex.

The government was working to overcome the energy crisis for good by focusing on short, medium and long-term strategies, the minister added.

The National Energy Policy 2013, the first consensus-based document of its kind, had clearly outlined the objectives to transform Pakistan from being an energy-starved country to being self-sufficient in terms of energy, he said. “The nation will observe each passing day, better in terms of electricity generation,” Ali added.

The minister was visiting the Nespak complex to be briefed on the ongoing energy projects in the country for which Nespak was providing engineering consultancy services. The projects included the 969-megawatt (MW) Neelum-Jhelum Dam, 747MW combined-cycle power plant at Guddu, 500 kilovolt substation and association transmission lines in Rahim Yar Khan, rehabilitation of 22MW Jabban hydropower project and the Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline project.

The Gomal Zam powerhouse has been completed, and the government is hopeful that the 22MW-Jabban power project and 130MW Duber Khwar will start feeding the national grid from next month. Apart from that, 150MW more will be added to the national grid, the minister said.

The Bank Of Punjab announced Solar Systems on Installments

The Bank Of Punjab announced Solar Systems on Installments