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Small, medium power projects in vogue

As the energy crisis worsens and with no immediate solution in sight, private companies are opting for small and medium scale power generation plants, official sources say.

An official at National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) said that they were receiving many generation license applications from the private sector for small and medium sized projects as these require comparatively less investment and time to complete. Finergy Pvt. Ltd has approached Nepra for a generation license for its 50MW wind power project that is to be set up in Jhimpir, Sindh.

Moreover, two wind power projects; FFCEL (49.5MW) and Zorlu Enerji (56.4MW) have already been completed.

Another company, Fatima Energy Limited has also applied for a generation license for its proposed 120MW bagasse/coal based thermal power plant to be set up in Muzaffargarh Punjab.

Nepra processed 14 applications for the generation of 1,343 MW and issued a total of 12 generation licenses last year.

Naveed Tehsin, an energy sector analyst at JS Research, said, at the moment, small and medium sized projects are the only option.

Large projects, particularly hydro projects required huge investment, which the private sector could not undertake, he said.

Mostly, government embarks upon such ventures and, at present, its too preoccupied to look into this matter. Therefore, small and medium sized thermal or solar / wind projects are coming up, he added.

The Alternate Energy Development Board (AEDB) acts as the one-window facility for the private sector for establishing renewable energy projects based on wind, solar, micro-hydel, biodiesel, biomass, waste to energy, fuel cells, tidal and wave energy. AEDB is also vested with the responsibility of formulation of national strategy, policies, plans and programmes for development of alternate/renewable energy (ARE) technologies in the country. Though wind energy has been the focus, AEDB has undertaken development activities in ARE sectors for power generation.

ARE-based projects, in general, and the wind energy projects, in particular, would play an important role in the future energy mix of Pakistan. Due to the availability of natural gas and rising prices of imported fuel oil, very little investment in conventional power projects is anticipated here. Moreover, coal and hydel power projects also have a long gestation period -whereas Wind energy, being indigenous and cheap, is fast becoming the most attractive option for generating electricity. The wind energy sector is attracting the most foreign investment in the county at the moment.

In addition to investors, international equipment suppliers, manufacturers and O&M operators have also been taking keen interest in Pakistan’s wind energy sector.

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