KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said on Monday that the province is currently contributing 935 MW of wind energy in the national grid from Jhimpir-Gharo-Keti Bandar wind corridor from 17 Independent Power Plants (IPPs), including three China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) early harvest projects including UEP, China Three Gorges, and Sachal. An additional 300 MW wind power projects are under construction and would be completed by October 2018, the CM announced.
This he said while speaking at CPEC Summit organised by a media group here at Bara Dari. He said that CPEC’s long term plan has already been unveiled and Sindh government is fully geared up to derive maximum benefits out of it for the people while focusing on removal of energy and infrastructure bottlenecks.
He added that the Sindh government, in collaboration with international agencies and all other stake holders, has finalised a comprehensive sector wise Sindh Development Plan (SDP) that encompasses both CPEC and non-CPEC initiatives for short, mid and long-term goals. “This plan lays special emphasis on energy and infrastructure,” he said.
The chief minister said that during the 7th Joint Cooperation Council (JCC) meeting held last in November 2017 in Islamabad he had stated Sindh government’s belief that CPEC is a force multiplier for Pakistan.
He added that it is not merely a road construction project but rather a long-term development agenda for Pakistan. “The investment in CPEC is not a one-off event; it is an ongoing multi-sectoral development process and I firmly believe that will transform the economic landscape of our country,” he iterated.
He said that Sindh is Pakistan’s largest economic hub and the second largest province. We have two commercial ports and a well-developed road network with a capacity to host one-third of country’s largescale manufacturing industry and a quarter of its small-scale manufacturing units.
The CM said the spatial layout of CPEC Long-Term plan “One belt, three axes and several passages” offers innumerable opportunities for Sindh as three major cities –Sukkur, Hyderabad and Karachi have been declared node cities of the corridor. “We have the potential to exploit North-South trade logistics and develop coastal business zones,” he said.
He added that coastal development for optimal utilisation of two commercial ports and opening up of Keti Bunder is crucially important. “Development and utilisation of commercial ports would complement CPEC long-term plans Sindh government assures its full cooperation and facilitation in this regard,” he said.
The chief minister said that Sindh is also the energy hub of Pakistan. “The Sindh government, realising the importance of renewable energy, started investing in green energy projects long before the formal launch of CPEC,” he said and added that Sindh is also the only province which has a dedicated land grants policy for renewable energy parks.
The Sindh chief executive said that National Electric and Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) has recently conducted public hearings for determination of cost plus tariff for pending projects. “We are hopeful that 35 companies to whom Sindh government has issued licenses for generation of 2,450 MW would be able to complete their projects by 2021,” he hoped.
He said that in order to encourage investment in solar power, his government has initiated a $105 million Sindh Solar Energy Programme which includes urban roof top solar programme for Karachi and Hyderabad, net metering, village electrification, 50 MW solar project at Manjhand, and a resource assessment and forecasting center for renewable technologies.
Talking about challenges, the chief minister said that grid capacity, accessibility and connectivity were serious challenges for optimal and safe evacuation of power. “In order to eliminate grid issues, Sindh government has requested NEPRA to upgrade the status of Sindh Transmission and Dispatch Company (STDC) from an SPV to a provincial grid company,” he said and added this would be in pursuance of Article 157 of the Constitution and NEPRA Amendment Act 2018 which has recently incorporated enabling provisions in the law to provide for electricity policy, plan, provincial grid company, and provincial distribution company.
He added that once declared as a provincial grid company, the Sindh Transmission and Dispatch Company (STDC) would soon lay high capacity transmission lines across the wind corridor to harness its true potential and to complement the NTDC system.
Talking about Thar Coal mining and power project, he said that are the flagship CPEC projects of Sindh government. “It is also the largest public-private partnership in Pakistan 0and we firmly believe that Thar Coal development is a real game changer for Pakistan’s economy,” he said and concluded that as an indigenous resource, it will not only provide energy security for the country but will also save billions of dollars over the years by substituting imported fuel.