Sindh aims to solarise entire province under $100m WB project

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SOURCEThe News
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KARACHI: The Sindh Solar Energy Project (SSEP), being implemented with the assistance of World Bank, will help electrify the province one hundred percent while offering the most affordable power tariffs to the consumers, a provincial minister said on Thursday.

“The $100 million project will benefit every Pakistani in terms of decreased basket price of electricity that will be made available to the consumers following its (project’s) execution,” said Imtiaz Ahmed Sheikh, Sindh Minister for Energy, addressing a consultative session at the provincial energy department.

“The project was conceived by the provincial government to utilise maximum potential of the province to produce power through renewable means of energy abundantly available here.”

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The SSEP is a World Bank-funded project that aims at installing solar systems on rooftops on all government buildings in Karachi and Hyderabad, deploying solar home systems in rural households (200,000 in the first phase) through off-grid method, and installing a utility-scale solar power system in the province of 400 megawatts.

The energy minister said in a few days the Sindh government would formally sign the contract agreements with the firms to initiate household energy surveys and rooftop building surveys at a ceremony to be held at the Chief Minister House.

Shaikh also thanked President of Pakistan for constituting the Executive Committee of National Economic Council to get necessary approvals for the SSEP at the federal level.

He said the Sindh government was fully committed to this project under its resolve to use both conventional and alternative resources to generate inexpensive electricity, while it was totally upbeat on the massive potential of Thar coal reserves that have the power to change the destiny of the entire country.

Sindh government was fully facilitating installation of new wind energy projects in the Jhimpir wind corridor as 12 such projects had recently signed energy purchase agreements with the National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC), the minister added.

He further said recently the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority had awarded the license to Sindh Transmission and Despatch Company (STDC) to act as the country’s first ever provincial grid company.

“Once the license is awarded to the STDC, it will lay its own transmission lines and construct grid stations for evacuation of electricity from the upcoming renewable projects to be installed in the province.”

Oliver Knight, senior energy specialist at World Bank, said pilot project to solarise homes through off-grid system would initially be implemented in ten districts of the province and later this initiative would also be introduced in other towns of the province.

The World Bank had accorded approval to the project, Knight said and added that a proper survey would be conducted to carefully select the government buildings in Karachi and Hyderabad to install solar systems on their rooftops.

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Musaddiq Ahmed Khan, Sindh Energy Secretary, said the provincial government had always been a strong advocate of using renewable resources of energy for clean production of electricity and SSEP had the potential of producing 500 to 700MWs through distributed generation system.

Khan said Sindh government would make sure the equipment to be used for the solar energy project met the international standards and specifications specified for such projects.

(This news/article originally appeared in The News on November 15th, 2019)

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