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Korean firm will install 1000MW Solar Energy Plant in Balochistan


Free Electricity from Micro Hydel in Village of SWAT


Training to install Solar Energy System


Thar Coal project ready to produce power

Eminent scientist Dr Samar Mubarakmand has said that the government’s lack of commitment is a major hurdle to production of power under Thar Coal Power Project in the country.

“The government has failed to provide the required funds to start two-year 100MW coal power project 2010-2012 as it only provided 10 percent of the required funds by the close of two-year project in September 2012,” he said while talking to The News after a session on Interferon held here at Centre for Advanced Molecular Biology (CAMB), Punjab University, on Friday.

Dr Mubarakmand said the project was ready to produce electricity but was not operational due to lack of funds to establish the power generation set up. Under Thar Coal Power Project, he said, we had already dug up 38 wells but it was useless to burn the coal without installations to use coal energy for power generation.

“We are waiting for a sensible government that would release funds to enable us to produce electricity through coal energy,” he observed, saying that it was the most important sector that required government’s attention but remained the lowest priority. “The electricity shortage will make its presence felt in the summer season,” he added.

Shahbaz lauds Iranian offer to help Punjab overcome energy crisis

Chief Minster Shahbaz Sharif has said the federal government did not adopt any concrete policy during five years to overcome energy shortage. He said had federal government seriously worked on energy crisis, Pakistan would not have been facing darkness.

He said the offer of Iran to provide assistance to Pakistan to overcome energy crisis was a good omen. He said due to loadshedding, industrial and agricultural sectors of Pakistan were being badly affected.

Shahbaz expressed these views while talking to Advisor to Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Akbar Velayati, who met him along with a 14-member delegation at Model Town here on Friday.

He said combating energy crisis was a big challenge while Punjab being a big province was being more impacted by the loadshedding. He said the Punjab government had made planning to overcome energy crisis through its own resources whereas work on various development projects for generation of energy from water, coal and solar power was being carried out expeditiously.The chief minister said Pakistan and Iran had a strong bond of love and affection.

Sethi stresses on low-cost electricity generation

Secretary Water and Power Mrs. Nargis Sethi said the power sector is directly linked with the economy of the country and therefore this is all the more important to add to the national grid a good quantum of electricity generated at affordable cost.

She was presiding over a meeting at the Wapda House on Friday to review the progress on water and power projects.

Addressing the meeting, the secretary said that the federal government accords priority to harnessing indigenous resources of hydropower, coal and other alternatives such as wind and solar etc. More attention should be paid to develop these resources, hydel in particular, by constructing projects in the shortest possible time. This will help reduce dependence on high-cost imported oil for electricity generation and stabilise the electricity tariff, she further said.

The secretary said that electricity situation in the country is gradually improving with concerted efforts of the government.

She expressed the hope that the situation will further improve in the days to come.

Terming Wapda as an important organisation of the country, the she said that Pakistan is fortunate to have projects like Tarbela and Mangla.

“The government is working on Diamer Basha dam and we will have significant development on the project in the coming days,” she added. The secretary said that the under-construction projects should be completed in accordance with the timeline.

She appreciated the efforts made by Wapda to complete Kachhi and Rainee Canal project, adding that the two projects will help irrigate hundreds of thousands of acre land in the far flung areas of Balochistan and Sindh for socioeconomic uplift of the people.

Speaking on the occasion, Wapda chairman Syed Raghib Shah assured the secretary to follow the timeline for completing the projects.

The chairman said that Wapda has devised a least-cost energy generation and water storage plan, through which more than 25 projects are being implemented to generate about 27000 megawatts of electricity and store 13 million acres feet of water.

Dilating upon the short, medium and long term strategy, he informed the meeting that 370 MW of hydel electricity will be added to the system by June 2013, another 2600 MW in the next four years, and by 6500 MW by 2020, provided funds are made available for the purpose.

He thanked the secretary water and power for enhancing the payment to Wapda to the tune of Rs3 billion per month against hydel invoices to help overcome financial problems in implementing the projects.

The financial as well as other issues relating to the water and power projects were also discussed in details during the meeting.

Among others, additional secretary water and power, secretary Wapda, joint secretary water and power, NTDC managing director and members of Wapda attended the meeting.

Energy crisis damaging leather industry

Pakistan Tanners’ Association Central Chairman Agha Saiddain has said that the energy crisis, especially in Punjab, has caused substantial damage to the third major foreign exchange earning leather industry, as the sector has become uncompetitive both locally and internationally.

He said this while addressing an emergent meeting of the PTA Central Executive Committee, which was attended by the country’s leading tanners. He said that the majority of tanning units are facing complete closures due to zero availability of gas and prolonged power breakdowns in the province as use of furnace oil for boiler heating has become unviable.

“The government can save this important industry by offering a relief package by up to five percent as provided in Bangladesh and India so that the industry could tackle the setbacks caused by power and gas outages,” he said. “The tanning industry is on the verge of collapse and needs government’s support for its survival.”

He added that in India financial support was provided to the tanning sector during global recession.

An amount of Rs253.43 crore was provided to the tanning sector for technology up-gradation, modernisation, and capacity creation and this amount was further enhanced to provide a grant of Rs5 million to SMEs in the tanning sector and an amount of Rs20.00 million for large tanneries in India.

He further added that India has announced 12 leather development plans, whereas in Pakistan, no such scheme was introduced. He said that in 2009-10 the government appointed M/S J.E. Austin as consultant to develop Pakistan’s leather strategy. The consultant charged $1 million and submitted its report to the Ministry of Production and Ministry of Commerce.

He maintained that the strategy developed by the consultant who charged $1 million to the government was finally dumped to the Ministry of Production and nobody knows its fate. He expressed his deep disappointment on this and mentioned it as a major reason for the decline of this industry.

SSUET students produce solar-electric car

Students of the Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology (SSUET) may have introduced a cost-effective alternative to consumers grappling with rising fuel prices. A group of six engineers have invented an electric car which can be charged through solar energy.

What’s more, in the absence of sunlight it can be charged just like a mobile phone. “You can charge it by attaching its plug to a socket for eight hours, and then it can be driven for at least 25 kilometres,” said Sajjad Jaffri, one of the six team members.

Jaffri says, “Electricity is actually cheaper than the fuel we use. And it is always available.”

Other inventors include Abdul Rehman, Fahad Iqbal, Ammir Iqbal, Mohammed Farooq and Mohammad Awais Qureshi. The engineers have installed a feature in the car, which they call ‘solar tracker’. The device automatically aligns itself with the sun’ position and its panel draws maximum radiation from the sun. “This gives the car its optimum performance.”

Currently, the car is equipped with a 220 volt battery. It can travel longer distances if more batteries are installed in it. But then the cost will go up.

It cost the students Rs170,000 to assemble the car, of which Rs50,000 were donated by the university. It was first exhibited in the Pakistan Automobile Exhibition held at Expo Centre. But the group is looking forward to showcase their talent abroad too. “Whenever we get a chance to take this car abroad, we would love to go.”

For now, they expect the government and the industrial sector to cooperate with them and help them launch this commercial initiative. “This is a very raw form. If we get the needed financial support, we can add more features to the car, and a locally-manufactured car will be very economical for customers.”

For the convenience of the driver, the car has an LCD which indicates the charge left in the solar cell and the battery. The group says that in its current form the vehicle can carry two passengers. It can also be used for the transportation of cargo from one place to the other.

Bhasha Dam a priority project, says Wapda

The federal government, through the Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda), is implementing Diamer Basha Dam project as a priority project because of its of importance for the economy.

In addition to Diamer Basha Dam Project, work on 4,320 megawatts (MW) Dasu Hydropower Project will also commence soon as all pre-requisites, including detailed engineering design of this project, are almost complete. This was stated by Wapda Chairman Syed Raghib Shah during his meeting with Tom Newton, COO of a US-based firm Hydromine, here at Wapda House on Thursday.

He said the two projects offered opportunities to the financial institutions and construction firms for their high economic rate of return. He said Diamer Basha Dam, with gross water storage capacity of 8.1 million acre feet, would generate 4,500MW electricity and contribute about 20 billion units of low-cost hydel electricity to the national grid.

He said that Dasu Hydropower Project would also provide more than 21 billion units electricity to the system. He said that USAID was now engaged with Wapda in arranging funds for Diamer Basha Dam.

Gas utilities unwilling to renew gas supply agreements with IPPs

The country’s thermal energy mix is feared to deteriorate further as firm gas supply agreements of independent power producers (IPPs) are expiring and gas utilities are not willing to extend or renegotiate the same any more, said sources.

Lately, the allocation of natural gas for power sector has declined to a precarious level, which is hardly sufficient to produce electricity matching the installed generation capacity.

As many as four IPPs setup under the Power Policy 2002, including Saif Power, Sapphire Electric, Orient Power and Halmore Power, had their firm allocation of gas in November last year. Sources in the IPPs Advisory Committee said that their agreements were for 30 years and three years had passed only.

After that, until a new firm allocation is made by the Economic Coordination Committee, the supply is on at the available basis, keeping in view the government’s gas supply priority that keeps the power sector on number two, following the supply to residential and commercial customers.

Sources said that their agreements were for 30 years and remained in place. Besides, each of the four companies had opened letters of credit of approximately Rs1.0 billion as security to Sui Northern (SNGPL) and these guarantees also remained in place. However, the gas companies were unwilling to commit supply on a firm basis.

According to the power purchaser agreement with the National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC)/Wapda and the government, these companies charged fuel cost to WAPDA for gas when gas was being supplied and diesel when gas was not being supplied. There was nothing to be redone in the contracts as the arrangements were already in place.

Sources said that it had been envisioned and stated in the contracts that diesel would be used for three months only in winter and the rest of the year and firm gas allocations would be renewed, which has not been done by the government since last year.

The cost of fuel consists of 85 percent of total power sale price, by an IPP to NTDC for every unit produced is about Rs5.0 when run on gas, and Rs22 on diesel.

According to IPP Advisory Committee, if one of these four IPPs are run at full capacity on diesel instead of gas, the additional cost of fuel to be paid by NTDC for one year would be Rs30 billion, approximately.

Therefore, for four plants running at full capacity for a whole year on diesel, NTDC would have to pay an extra Rs120 billion per year resulting in a multiplying effect on circular debt.