Punjab plans 700 MW-1 GW plant

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Pakistani national newspaper the Daily Times has reported plans for a large scale solar park in the Cholistan desert region of the country.

A contradictory report in the newspaper outlines approval by the Punjab Energy Council for the 700 MW Quaid-e-Azam plant on 10,000 acres near Bahawalpur although the report goes on to state the site will be divided into 20 250-acre sections, each of which will generate 50 MW (totalling 1 GW, rather than the headline 700 MW figure).

According to the report, Punjab chief minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif said development work for the scheme would start ‘forthwith’ with the start of energy generation at the site planned for early next year although the National Transmission and Despatch Company Limited (NTDC) is not due to have laid transmission cables until early March.

The newspaper report states phase one of the scheme will see eight 50 MW generation areas set up on the site along with a school, playground, community center, mosque and dispensary for employees.

The energy council approved the establishment of the Quaid-e-Azam Solar Power Company to manage the project with Khan as chairman and provincial minister for energy Sher Ali Khan as vice chairman. They will be joined on the board of the new company by six public sector and six private sector appointees.

The Daily Times report says the Bank of Punjab and the finance committee of the energy council have been asked to make financing recommendations to the next meeting of the energy council.