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Punjab body formed to produce baggase electricity

Punjab’s chief minister nominee has constituted a committee to chalk out a plan for electricty generation from the baggase of crushed sugar cane, the News has learnt.

According to sources, its possible to generate 2,000 to 3,000 megawatts of electricity from the baggase of sugarcane during the crushing season.

In this regards the committee has been asked to come up with a plan on an urgent basis.

The council consists of members of Pakistan Sugar Mills Association (PSMA) and other concerned government officials, the sources added.

The sources said that the body was asked to submit the report by the next week.

In this regard, the former chief minister of Punjab Shahbaz Sharif met with the sugar mill owners on Thursday night.

The meeting was attended by Secretary Finance Punjab Tariq Bajwa, Secretary Energy Jahanzab Khan, senior official of the Bank of Punjab Khalid Termizi and other concerned government officials.

The members in the committee include former central chairman of PSMA Javeed Kiyani, Haroon Akther and Rana Naseer from sugar mill industry sector, provincial secretaries of finance and energy, deputy governor the State Bank of Pakistan, representatives of Bank of Punjab, NEPRA, NTDC, and others.

The process of utilisation of cogeneration facility of the sugar milling industry was initiated some four years back when the energy crisis was at its high. The Punjab government had invited the sugar industrialists to work out a plan for cogeneration of the electricity on commercial basis to meet the growing demand of the electricity.

The PSMA representatives in their detailed presentation informed the nominated chief minister of the Punjab that if all the issues related with the bank financing, tariff determination, permission from the Alternative Energy Development Board and environment departments and others are resolved, then 2,000 megawatts would be generated during crushing season starting from November every year.

The sugar industry will add almost 200 megawatts of electricity into the system without upgrading the existing plants if tariff and other issues are settled, another 200 MW can become online with the upgradation of the plants.

The PSMA members said that the co-generation facility could be started within one year provided the signing of power purchase agreement and completion of required documents on time.

Under the plan, the sugar mills will install steam economisation equipments and infrastructure for securing more bagasse for power generation by replacing the existing low pressure boilers with new high pressure technology to increase the fuel utility. The existing inefficient turbines will also be replaced with the latest and efficient turbines having lesser steam consumption ratio.

The cost of replacing these machineries is estimated at $30 million in each mill, while after installing these machineries the total operational days of the sugar milling industry will be extended to 180 to 200 days from existing 120 days per year on bagasse. These cogeneration plants could also be operated on rice husk, other bio fuels and coal. The sugar mill industry has asked the government to give sugar crushing company the status of captive units. The PSMA also demanded an upfront tariff for all sugar mills, attractive return on investment and additional incentives for early implementation of the projects, tax free income, guaranteed purchase, fixed term agreements (15 years plus extendable to further years if mutually agreed), regular indexation of fuel cost, operation and maintenance cost and debt servicing. An official privy to the meeting said that, previously no major breakthrough appeared on electricity cogeneration from sugar mill plants, while the two energy conferences called by the last government ignored this sector.

During his previous tenure, Shahbaz Sharif had held a number of meetings on cogeneration, but remained unable to make this a success because of the alleged noncooperation from the central government for Punjab was supposed to be the beneficiary of such a facility. Pakistan is the fifth largest sugarcane producer of the world – having 83 sugar mills out of which 45 are in Punjab and remaining in Sindh and KPK with the total installed crushing capacity of 65 million metric tones per season.

All the sugar mills have in-house bagasse-based power generation capability, though they are currently using the most inefficient boilers and primitive backpressure small turbines. A mill produces an average two to six megawatts of electricity to meet the energy requirement of the mill, said the official.

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