The other day, I happened to visit ‘Bara’, a popular shopping centre, approximately five kilometres from University Town, Peshawar. To my surprise, I saw about seven to eight shops selling complete solar energy equipment imported from China and Korea.
If most of us install this equipment at our homes, it could solve the energy shortage problem in Pakistan to a considerable extent. A complete package of solar equipment that could run three fans and four energy saving bulbs was being sold for Rs55,000. This package includes a solar panel of 230 Watts, two batteries, a converter, and a controller. In this package, the cost of the solar panel alone is Rs18,000 which is highly cost-effective as compared to its price in the past. The prices of solar energy equipment have come down quite a bit in recent years. One wonders why our government hasn’t promoted the use of solar energy in Pakistan, and why our business community hasn’t ventured into the manufacture of such equipment. The government should have started a vigorous campaign for the use of solar energy in Pakistan.
Air-Cdre (r) Azfar A Khan
Punjab Agriculture Minister Dr Farrukh Javed has announced that 1,277 megawatts of electricity will be generated from 10.94 million tons of biomass available from the residue of crops.
The minister was speaking at a ceremony marking the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for Indian technical assistance for installing a 15MW biomass power plant here on Friday.
A company from Indian Punjab named Universal Biomass Energy will help Pakistan by providing necessary technical guidance for setting up the plant.
The minister said the plant would be handed over to Pakistan in two years, after its successful installation and operation, adding the plant would be linked to a 132-kva supply line.
The MoU was inked by Universal Biomass Energy Private Limited Director Pareet Singh Badal, Punjab Agriculture Secretary Dr Ejaz Muneer and Punjab Energy Department chief engineer Iftikhar Ahmad Randhawa.
Later talking to the media, the minister stressed that the Punjab government was committed to resolving the energy crisis.
Responding to a question, he said talks with different countries were under way for establishing biomass power plants in Punjab.
Pareet Singh Badal said the steps being taken by the Punjab government to tackle the energy crisis were commendable. The Indian delegation later left via Wagah border.
The agreement came after the recent visit of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to India where he met with his Indian counterpart and other officials. The Punjab government has announced that Pakistan will seek Indian assistance in curbing the energy crisis, which has crippled life and business activities in the province and the whole country.
The latest MoU will help Pakistan develop ability to switch from conventional oil-fired electricity generation
to cheaper biomass. The government has also undertaken a massive project to shift some power plants from oil to coal.
Pakistan and Iran are set to sign an initial deal for the supply of 1,000 megawatts of electricity to overcome the crippling energy crisis in Pakistan.
Sources told The Express Tribune that the Ministry of Water and Power was calling for the vetting of a draft of memorandum of understanding (MoU) to be signed with Iran for electricity import.
“Pakistan will be paying 8-11 cents per unit of electricity under the formula agreed with Iran,” a source said.
Under the project, Iran will build a powerhouse in its Zahedan province bordering Pakistan to generate electricity for export. Iran has also expressed its willingness to provide a loan of $800-$900 million for the project.
A 700-kilometre transmission line of 500 kilovolts will also be laid from the Pakistan-Iran border to Quetta.
During the previous government, Iran had also expressed interest in setting up a 200MW power plant in Balochistan. Tehran was also keen on installing smaller plants of 25MW each on the ground as well as on barges to help Pakistan overcome the power crisis.
But all the plans stalled due to the sanctions imposed by the West. Iran had offered to export 10,000MW of electricity during the tenure of the previous government.
According to energy experts, the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project has been facing problems due to sanctions imposed by the United States on Tehran.
“So, it may also be difficult for both countries to press on with the 1,000MW power import project unless US sanctions are lifted,” an expert said, adding Pakistan was already facing problems in clearing dues for 74MW being imported for Gwadar.
“The main issue hampering the implementation of the projects is the delay in clearance of Iran dues,” he said, adding other countries like Turkmenistan and Turkey were also facing payment issues with Iran in gas trade.
Iran owed Turkmenistan $1 billion in December 2012 for gas import and due to difficulties in transfer of funds. On the other side, during the same month, Turkey offered barter trade and payment in gold to Iran for the import of natural gas due to hurdles to cash payments.
Experts said Pakistan would also experience payment transfer issues in gas import through the Iran-Pakistan pipeline and in power import project.
At present, Iran is exporting 74MW of electricity per day to the border areas of Balochistan as well as Gwadar, but Pakistan has not been able to carry out banking transactions with Tehran since June 2011 after the US and European Union intensified sanctions.
Iran has been exporting electricity through a 132-kilovolt transmission line. In 2006, Pakistan was importing 39MW, which was later increased to 74MW.
Earlier, the Iranian firm exporting electricity to Pakistan had threatened to cut supplies because of delay in settling the dues.
Kalabagh Dam is inevitable for the progress and prosperity of the country as it will produce power at an average cost of Rs1.5/kwh. This cheap power will annually displace costly power worth approximately Rs300 billion with consequential savings of costly oil imports. This saving alone would wipe out the current account deficit, boost reserves and strengthen the rupee.
This was expressed by the experts while addressing a press conference on Kalabagh Dam jointly organized by the Lahore Chamber of commerce and Industry and Sind Tas Water Council on Saturday.
They said that the dam will wipe out loadshedding and increase industrial output by $5-6 billion a year. Its contribution to value addition in agricultural output could go up to $10 billion a year. The dam has the potential to wipe out poverty as the project will benefit every province.
The speakers including Chairman STWC Saleman Khan, Advocate Nisar Safdar from KPK, Col Abdul Razaq Bugti, Engineer Saeed Iqbal Bhatti, Chairman Tehrik-e-Tameer Klabagh Dam Major Siddique Rehan and Engineer Malik Muhammad Tufail, said that there was no threat to Nowshehra city as it is 150 feet above the water level. He said that Kalabagh Dam was not beneficial to Punjab alone but it would be more helpful in alleviating poverty from Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtun Khawa.
The dam would irrigate 800,000 acres of land that is located 100-150 feet above the Indus river level in the province. They said this land could only be brought under cultivation if the river level is raised that is only possible if Kalabagh Dam is built. They said the other alternative is to pump the water which is very costly.
The speakers said that creditable studies have indicated that pumping water for potential cultivable land would cost farmers Rs 5000 per acre per year while canal water after construction of Kalabagh Dam would cost only Rs400 per acre per year.
LCCI president Sohail Lashari said the Kalabagh Dam issue has been so much politicized that a consensus would not be possible therefore the civil society would have to play its role for early construction of Kalabagh Dam as new large water reservoirs would benefit every Pakistani.
He said that all the stakeholders should show some greater maturity on the issue of Kalabagh. It is the high time that all undue stands should be brushed aside to save the country from that era of darkness. He said that unlike Pakistan, India is constructing dams at every possible site. It has left us decades behind and coming years don’t not promise good time either.
He said that every one knows that the existing dams are constantly silting up leaving ever decreasing capacity to store water.
The construction of Kalabagh dam along with other new dams is desperately needed to store adequate water. According to a conservative estimate about 30 million acre feet of water is being wasted into the sea because the country has no big water reservoirs to store it. More importantly, as a result of melting of glaciers due to global warming, a sword of Damocles remains hanging over our heads in the shape of floods.
Chairman Tehrik-e-Tameer Klabagh Dam Major Siddique Rehan said that another significant aspect connected with the construction of Kalabagh Dam is the surety of sufficient amount of electricity at very cheap price of Re one per unit.
The country’s dependence on power generated through thermal sources is costing us way too much causing to face insurmountable challenges to remain competitive both in national and international markets.
Chairman STWC Saleman Khan said that the present scenario leads to import oil worth over $12 billion a year which is costing us dearly while causing to face insurmountable challenges to remain competitive both in national and international markets.
LCCI Vice President Kashif Anwar said that the controversies about Kalabagh dam are hitting the entire country and adding to masses sufferings therefore a campaign should be launched to ensure its early construction.
Pakistan has enormous resources of renewable and non-renewable energy sources. One of the largest coal fields in Pakistan has reserves of more than 175 billion tones exceeding those in some major oil generating countries.
Pakistan has a great potential for wind energy yet power generation using wind energy is still in the initial stages. About 100,000MW of energy can be generated using solar sources and 41,000-45,000MW through hydel power generation. Despite all these possibilities, power generation in our country is not increasing. Therefore, a rational policy should be developed, placing more emphasis renewable energy.
Chief Minister said that the Pakistani government is streamlining relations with friendly countries on new lines for putting the country on the road to progress and China is on the top of the list. He said that the project of economic corridor between Pakistan and China will prove to be a new chapter of development and prosperity in the region. He said that Gwadar Port is the glorious example of Pak-China friendship. He said that Chinese company China Harbor is constructing infrastructure at Gwadar Port.
Shahbaz Sharif said that Pakistan is taking steps on emergent basis for overcoming energy crisis. He said that a number of agreements have been made with various Chinese companies for coping with energy crisis. He said that besides Gadani and Port Qasim, Chinese companies are also cooperating in installing coal power plants in Punjab. He said that during his recent visit to China, Aronchi province has expressed interest for providing 3,000MW electricity to Pakistan through transmission line. He said that Federal Government is marching forward speedily on the project of getting electricity from Aronchi province. He stressed the need for further promoting economic and trade relations between Pakistan and China.
He expressed the hope that time will certainly come when Pakistan and China will jointly install energy projects of 40,000mw. Shahbaz Sharif also gave an interview to Chinese TV Channel and talked about Pak-China relations.
PUNJAB Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that due to the energy crisis, economic and trade activities have slowed down in the country.
However, he said, government was determined to overcome shortage of electricity and measures were being taken for this purpose on the emergent basis. He expressed these views while talking to a delegation of Indian energy experts, here on Wednesday. The delegation was led by Pawind Parweet Badal. Provincial Minister for Agriculture Dr Farrukh Javed, Chairman Planning & Development, Secretary Agriculture and other officers concerned were present on the occasion. Matters regarding cooperation in the energy sector were discussed in the meeting.
Talking to the Indian delegation, the Chief Minister said that special incentives were being offered to local and foreign investors and the companies for the investment in the energy sector. He said that being a neighbouring country of Pakistan, India’s cooperation in the energy sector would help improve bilateral relations between the two countries. He said that India especially East Punjab had set up biomass, biogas and small hydel projects for the generation of electricity and the Punjab government wanted to benefit from the successful projects set up in the East Punjab.
He said that government was making every effort to overcome shortage of electricity and several agreements had been signed with local and foreign companies and investors for their cooperation in the energy sector. He said that there were vast opportunities of setting up biomass, biogas and small hydel projects for the generation of electricity in the province.
He said that the projects of power generation from biomass, biogas and small hydel projects were running successfully in the Indian Punjab and the experience and skill of the East Punjab would be fully utilised for expeditious completion of the energy projects. The Chief Minister directed the provincial authorities to finalise consultative and technical process immediately for benefiting from India’s experience. He said that full benefit should be taken from Indian expertise in setting up biogas plants. He directed that setting up of biomass projects of 15 megawatt each be considered while work should be started without any delay on setting up small hydel projects on canals. He said that every moment of the nation was precious and the officials concerned should finalise the viable projects without wasting any time.
The head of the Indian delegation Pawind Parweet Badal said that all-out cooperation would be extended to the Punjab government in establishing biogas, biomass and small hydel projects of power generation. He said that the cooperation with Pakistani Punjab in energy sector would be a matter of pleasure.
Metro bus: A delegation of an international Chinese company NORINCO called on Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on Wednesday. Matters pertaining to the infrastructure sector, especially expanding the scope of metro bus project were discussed in the meeting. Vice President of NORINCO Zhang Shiping, Ms Cui Dungjian, Liu Zhen, Li Yidn, Chairman Lahore Transport Company Khawaja Ahmad Hasaan and Managing Director Punjab Metro Bus Authority Sibtain Fazal Haleem were also present on the occasion.
Talking to the Chinese delegation, the Chief Minister said that there were historic relations between Pakistan and China.
He said that Pakistan attached high importance to its ties with China which had supported Pakistan in every hour of need. He said that a number of mega projects had been completed in Pakistan with the cooperation of China. He said that the project of construction of economic corridor from Kashgar to Gwadar was of vital importance. He said that the scope of metro bus project was being expanded in the Punjab Province. He said that the metro bus project played a role in the provision of modern and economical transport facilities to the masses.
The Riphah Institute of Public Policy — a constituent institute of Riphah International University — organised a briefing on the ‘Renewable Energy Resources’ for Dr. Rashid Beebeejaun, deputy prime minister (DPM) & minister for energy, Government of Mauritius.
The Mauritius deputy prime minister was briefed by officials of the Pakistan Council for Renewable Energy (PCRET), Ministry of Science & Technology, Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB), National Energy Conservation Centre (ENERCON) and the Ministry of Water & Power.
The experts, representatives and heads of the respective organisations apprised the DPM that renewable energy resources are very important in Pakistan’s perspective as there is an acute shortage of fossil fuels. Considering the potential of renewable energy in the country, the Government of Pakistan has taken number of steps to explore and promote renewable energies and energy efficiency strategies like; wind based power generation, solar devices and energy audit for conservation and improving energy efficiency in order to minimise the gap between demand and supply.
This will enhance the tangible contribution of renewable energy in energy mix which at the moment relies on gas and oil and the country has to pay huge amount of money as import bill.
Mauritius produces about 22% of its electricity from renewable resources consists; solar energy, wind energy, solid waste management energy, geothermal etc. The country is one of the leading players in the World in utilising the renewable energy resources.
The Mauritius deputy prime minister took a keen interest on the subject through extensive Q&A and appreciated the efforts of Pakistan and stressed that mutual cooperation may be carried out among the two countries in the area of renewable energy through some programs and further interaction.
Riphah International University Vice Chancellor Dr. Anis Ahmad thanked the participants of the briefing.