Pakistan allocates land for largest wind farm in Asia
A wind project in Pakistan has been allotted with around 908 acres by the Sindh government and their wind turbines will be spread over 12,000 acres.
The expected completion date of the project, which is being touted as the largest wind farm in Asia, is December 2013. It costs $1.2 million per MW, and since it has the potential to generate 500MW, the total comes out to $600 million.
A total of around 39,000 acres have been allotted to all renewable energy projects in Pakistan, the biggest of which involves NBT Wind Energy Pakistan, a Norway-based company, and Malakoff, a company based in Malaysia.
About 30 renewable energy projects are in progress in Pakistan and have the potential to add 1,800 megawatts to the national grid. Around half of them are expected to be completed by next June.
Two other projects, which will add 50MW to the grid by next year, belong to the Pakistan Army through the Fauji Fertilizer Company.
Previous wind mapping projects have concluded that 3 per cent of Pakistan’s land area is ‘Class 4+’, which means that it is excellent for utility scale applications of wind power. If all of this space is used, an additional 132,000 MW can be generated. The UNDP as well as National Renewable Energy Laboratory have also identified wind corridors spanning up to 180 kilometers in Pakistan.
For wind power projects, the government has set a rate of return of 17 per cent for investors, with a tariff of 14.6 cents per kilowatt-hour. The head of the Sindh Board of Investment, Zubair Motiwalla, thinks this is a generous offer. “Around 30 investors, including one of the biggest energy companies in the world, have already expressed their interest,” he said at his office in the Finance and Trade Centre. “There is a five-year paybackperiod, and then you can start adjusting the price.”
The best wind corridors out of those identified in southern Pakistan stretch from Hyderabad to Gharo, the coastal areas south of Karachi and the hills and ridges between Karachi and Hyderabad.
But one obstacle that may come in the way of wind power is traditional energy providers, who may view renewable energy as a threat. “There will always be opposition [to renewable energy] and oil lobbies are out there. We can feel them coming but the odds are being overcome,” said Motiwalla.