Pakistan scrambles for generation

Renewable energy advocates heartened by last week’s announcement from the Punjab government of plans for a 700 MW-1 GW solar park might be dismayed to learn solar is just part of a scramble for energy by the Pakistan government.

The Pakedu.net website this morning reported the country’s minister for energy and mines, Chaudhry Sher Ali, has pledged all street lights at city district level will become solar powered and then household solar will be introduced.

No timeline for the solar rollout was mentioned in the Pakedu report which goes on to state Ali’s announcement that the Pakistan government’s top two aims are to generate as much energy as possible in as short a space of time as possible and to prosecute electricity thieves.

After last week’s announcement of approval for the country’s first solar park, the Quaid-i-Azam project at Lal Sohanra and Din Garh in the Cholistan desert region, hopes of a wholesale embrace of renewables have been dashed by the revelation of a government scramble to generate energy from any source.

Coal-fired plant will generate 6.6 GW

Speaking at a briefing about thermal and hydro projects, held by the Chinese national Electric Engineering Company Ltd., Ali said generation plans included a 6.6 GW coal fired plant to be built at Gaddani – dwarfing solar development plans – as well as a 120 MW barrage scheme under construction at Taunsa and a plan to generate 1 GW from sugar mill biogas.

The scale of the Quaid-i-Azam plant is still unclear with initial media reports implying it would range from 700 MW to 1 GW in size.

According to Pakedu.net, an initial 100 MW will be expanded by a further 400 MW and a final design will be discussed at the next meeting of the project’s planning committee.