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Energy Crisis In Pakistan

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It is often said that hope doesn’t come from calculating whether the good news is winning out over the bad. It’s simply a choice to take action.

By Syed Areeb Uddin

My recent visit to Thatta revealed great tragedies and wonders of my home land. I was more shocked than amazed at the propensity of resources that Thatta alone holds and have been wondering in calculating to how much can the country actually benefit from these resources.

Starting with the Zorlu wind energy project, a wind farm established by a Turkish based Zorlu group at Jhimpir – it is told that the Gharo- Keti Bandar Wind Corridor spreading 60 km along the coastline of Sindh province and more than 170 km deep towards the land alone has a potential to generate more than 60,000 MW of electricity.

Its total installed capacity is 56.4 MW and has 5 turbines each capable of generating 1.2 MW functional since April’09 when the prime minister inaugurated the project and yet 28 remaining turbines are to be installed which are capable of producing 50.4MW energy collectively. These remaining turbines are decided to be made practical by this December!

The 1st phase of the project has become functional since June2009 and it has already started providing 6MW with its five turbines!

It is further planned that in a few years’ time the work scale will be expanded to 50Mw. This project not only serves the purpose of overcoming the energy crisis but it's also obliging in numerous added significant ways like strengthening foreign ties with the Chinese government as it’s a collaborative work with them and secondly with Turkey as the Zorlu group is an Istanbul based company. Turkey is like a brother county to Pakistan always there to help and support, the project is just another magnanimous example of the strong tie.

Not just that, it has invited many financial investors also both foreign and local which have proportionally putted together $136 million for the project. In recognition of it, Zorlu Energy Pakistan has received the “Middle East Renewable Deal of the Year” for 2011 by Project Finance Magazine. Attaining this prestigious award by Zorlu Energy demonstrates the ease and security of investing in the renewable energy sector in Pakistan.

FFC Company has also made its wind project in the same wind farm’s location at Jhimpir. Its plan is to install 33 turbines each able to produce 1.5 MWs, that would round up to 50MW that this project would share and it’s work is just at the last stages in the pipeline and promisingly will be beginning from this November.

This is not it, in fact much more is yet to come as Alternative energy development board (AEDB) has allocated lands to 45 more companies for the same purpose in Gharo and Jhimpir amongst which most of them will be generating 50-100MW with an exception of at least 8 companies that will be able of producing from 200-350MW. Notable names of those include United energy,3-Gorges China, Fina Enerji Turkey and NBT wind power Pakistan etc.

Worthy mentioning that the construction work is underway for both the projects and it required at least more than 400 of skilled and non-skilled labour in whose induction the local community was more preferred. Thus the wind farm serves as a major source of employment for many of the unemployed and being neglected since long habitants of Thatta. 

The project’s to benefit in many of other ways. Mentioning a few like tourism – it already looks really picturesque and with time or when it gets all complete it will surely be an attraction for many visitors of not just the district but from main cities of the country and for sure will make the foreign visitors who are here for the trip of the whole country to show up at the farm also. Apart from the fact about its being very supportive to the local community it will soon be compelling the government to improvise the infrastructure of the area and that will eventually lead to a better life style. For the officers and staff permanently deployed at the site medical facilities have also been available that’s serving the habitants around.

It's just about realizing the available opportunities more and working over to make them profitable. Pakistan in no sense would seem as a failed state!

At least five such locations in Jhimpir and Jatti talukas have been identified by the experts for wind power energy. The locations for windmills have been identified after a thorough survey by the experts as district Thatta’s close proximity with the sea makes it ideal for the project which will enable the people living in coastal areas to avail cheap source of energy. Using the measured wind data the annual gross energy production by an 18 MW wind farm consisting of thirty – 600 kW turbines will be 45 million kWh. Taking into account the wind turbine availability, net losses and wake effects in the wind farm the net annual energy production is estimated to 31 million kWh per year corresponding to a capacity factor of 28%.

Wind generated electricity is no different. The wind is the fuel – unlike fossil fuels it is both free and clean. It drives the turbine which generates electricity into a grid. Wind turbines are giant electrical generators, which rotate due to the wind flow and produce clean electricity. They do not require fuel, water and neither is any other kind of expenditure needed for its functioning.

Pakistan can significantly reduce its oil import bill by shifting to renewable energy and meet its rising industrial and domestic energy demands without burning fossil fuels in thermal power plants, the most expensive form of fuel. At present oil accounts for approximately 45% of total commercial energy supply. The share of natural gas is 34% while that of hydro power remains roughly at 15%. The increase in cost of fossil fuel and the various environmental problems of large scale power generation have led to increased appreciation of the potential of electricity generation from non-conventional sources.

Pakistan has the potential to produce up to 346 GW of electricity through wind energy alone, provided we utilize the God gifted wind energy potential and more companies start their work on building the wind energy projects in the country. If we could produce just 10% of available wind energy potential of 346 GW, i.e. 34 GW in next 15 – 20 years, Pakistan will be well ahead on the path of energy security and prosperity due to utilization of indigenous energy resource.

On way from Jhampir towards Karachi, agriculture fields kept passing across. People reported that water and irrigation issues are like never leaving from here and have ruptured much of the major economic tool of the area. Keenjhar Lake – a picturesque place with magnificent beauty seems to have got completely forgotten by the responsible. Nearly same is the case with Makli necropolis. Ages old graves carved with precious stones representing the sole culture of Sindh are noted of being subjected to theft, places being illegally occupied. Tombs and shrines of well noted scholars are about to fall apart – the havoc like conditions are enough to say that an immediate attention if not given, Sindh may lose its very precious identities and if worked over they can turn it once again as a hub of visitors for education tourism and business purpose exactly like how when Thatta used to be the capital times back!

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