A renewable energy initiative led by Pakistan Engineering Council chairperson and PPP senator Rukhsana Zuberi is installing solar panels on many public buildings in Islamabad and elsewhere in Pakistan. She is an NED University mechanical engg alum.
Click here to see details of the program.
Here's video clip of Rukhsana Zuberi on GeoTv's Capital Talk with Hamid Mir:
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Solar energy lights up rural schools in Pakistan, according to Earth Techling:
Pakistan starts 2012 on a slightly brighter note after a year of recovering from the worst floods in the country’s history in 2010 (while continuing to endure high levels of terrorism-related violence). As part of the effort to rebuild, sunny days and solar panels and multipurpose lights are providing reliable and much needed electricity for schools and rural areas of Pakistan that have been without electricity since the floods.
Plan International Pakistan and the Punjab education department have rehabilitated nearly 400 schools destroyed by floods, and implemented solar power in 250 schools that did not have electricity. Funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), the project piloted the first use of solar technology in the UK’s disaster response. In addition to the solar panel installation, the project also provided water and sanitation, school furniture, school paper, schoolbags and uniforms, sports equipment and health education for 54,000 primary school children.
In addition to powering up the schools, aid from the U.K.’s DFID also provided multipurpose solar light units to people across rural southern Pakistan who have been without power since the floods and were relying on candles, kerosene oil and rechargeable flashlights for light. The solar unites provide free and sustainable light for up to 10 hours after charged and last up to five years. But beyond providing light, the units can also be used to recharge mobile phones, which play a critical role in helping displaced families and communities stay connected in areas where landline phones are rare.
Marvi, a woman living in southern Pakistan with her seven children, explained to aid officials how the solar units were benefiting her family: “I use the solar light for cooking at night,” she explains. “We save money because we had to buy candles and kerosene before. We also use it to charge our mobile phones.”
China's solar push has cut solar energy prices down to 17 cents per KWhr vs 12 cents per KWhr for wind, reports Bloomberg:
For years, solar took a back seat to wind as China’s preferred form of renewable energy. Solar was less efficient and cost about four times as much per kilowatt hour of production. As raw materials costs for panels have fallen, that gap has narrowed, says Ming Yang, vice president for business development at Shanghai panel maker JA Solar (JASO). Today, producing a kilowatt hour of solar power costs about 17¢, he says, vs. 12¢ for wind, and prices are falling fast.
That’s gotten the attention of Chinese officials. “There’s been a big change in the mindset of policy makers,” says Yang, whose company is on track to sell “north of 20 percent” of its production in China this year, more than double last year’s share. Like most in the industry, JA has benefited from an initiative dubbed Golden Sun that offers state support to developers of solar installations. Although introduced in 2009, Golden Sun started to take hold last year, when the government approved more than 600 Mw of projects. NPD Solarbuzz says there will be about 1,000 Mw of new Golden Sun projects in 2012.
Like Europe, China has started requiring “feed-in tariffs”—guaranteed prices utilities must pay solar power producers for their electricity. Though the rate fell to 16¢ per kilowatt hour this year from 18¢ in 2011, with production costs falling the lower amount is plenty, says NPD Solarbuzz analyst Ray Lian. “If this rate is maintained, we expect to see another surge in installations,” he says.
A larger Chinese market should be good news for renewable energy worldwide, with growing demand from China helping shore up prices at a time Europe is reassessing its solar energy policies. On Feb. 23, German Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen said his country would cut its assistance by as much as 29 percent. Although U.S. producers such as First Solar (FSLR) have made little headway in China, the country’s growth “will open up a much-needed source of demand,” says James Evans, a senior analyst with researcher Bloomberg Industries in London. A bigger Chinese market “will continue to allow the cost of solar technology to come down,” Evans says, “even without the European subsidized markets.”
Here's a Daily Times report on Korean investment in 300 MW solar farm in Pakistan: Global R&BD Division of CX Korea has informed after completion of formalities of NEPRA, Ministry of Water and Power etc their company would initiate project of establishment of 10 mw solar energy plant, which would later be extended upto 300 mw power generation through solar energy.
A four-member delegation of CX Korea Inc related to solar energy project, led by its Executive Director, Ko Young Sun informed CM Sindh Qaim Ali Shah the 10 mw plant would be ready by December this year and firstly the plant would be extended upto 100 mw while later it would be extended upto 300 mw by 2015. Sun said Germany and Korea have made good achievements in solar energy and Korean Global construction would fulfill the requirements and initiate and complete the project as per commitment. He informed KAPCO-Daewoo Engineering would provide project financing and for the purpose. They required 1200-acre land for 300 mw project as the project need four acre land per one mw power through solar energy. Qaim Ali Shah said the provincial government has made arrangements for provision of infrastructure and facilities to the investors.
Here's an FT piece on the negative impact of power sector in Pakistan:
...Munir, born and educated in Lahore, makes his case in the latest issue of the Economic & Political Weekly of India, to be published on Saturday.
“The 1994 privatisation of the energy sector offered investors generous returns and created pricey overcapacity,” he told beyondbrics. “This created an expensive legacy which is the real problem of today’s energy crisis.”
Unless that problem is dealt with, he sees no light at the end of the energy tunnel.
He says Pakistan’s government, helped by the World Bank, “sweetened” its energy privatisation with attractive conditions, fearing it wouldn’t be able to attract investors otherwise. It guaranteed a 12 to 15 per cent annual return (indexed in dollars, not rupees), gave tax breaks and paid interest on private funding – more expensive for the government than providing the funding itself. ”The deal was too good to be true for investors,” Munir says.
The government gave those guarantees during an economic boom it assumed would continue. That turned out not to be the case.
Munir says the model turned out to be badly constructed in terms of creating value for the government and people of Pakistan. Even in an environment of economic growth and efficient energy generation, it would have been hard for the government to finance the plan. But since both have been absent, it became nearly impossible to pay for privatised energy.
What else went wrong?
Most private investors chose to build oil-powered plants because of their low construction costs and short lead times. This backfired as the oil price has trebled since the 1990s. Variable costs, and therefore prices to consumers, are at unsustainable levels. “No wonder many consumers can’t afford to pay their bills,” Munir says.
To make things worse, the government neglected to step on the brakes when its generous conditions attracked too many investors. Assuming economic growth would continue, it allowed too much capacity to be built and guaranteed the same return on that extra capacity, whether it was used or not.
But as growth stalled, the government could no longer meet its commitments. So operators have begun shutting down power plants, killing the lights across Pakistan – which is now enduring daily power outages in spite of having excess generating capacity of almost 35 per cent.
Munir says the government should develop new power plants using cheaper fuels, and that this shouldn’t be a problem in a country with an abundance of coal, waterways and sun.
But Pakistan must first escape its vicious payment cycle. The Economist magazine reports that Pakistan’s so-called circular debt to energy producers stands at $880m. It is only getting worse because of rising interest costs and dollar-rupee appreciation.
“We need to get out of the the current deals,” says Munir. But at what cost, and does this imply default? “Your guess is as good as mine,” the academic admits.
Still, he felt it was time to make his point. “I’m not defending people who don’t pay bills and I’m not promoting government subsidies to keep prices low,” Munir says. “But why isn’t anyone talking about the policy that led to this situation to begin with?”
Here's PakTribune report on "huge incentives" for energy investors in Pakistan:
There is great investment opportunity for local as well as foreign investors to invest in the energy sector, especially in renewable energy components, said President Asif Ali Zardari.
During a meeting with the Chinese delegation of China Electric Equipment Group (CEEG) headed by its president Jia Yangang, Zardari said, “Government has committed to provide all possible facilitation to the local and foreign investors with great incentives.”
The delegation of CEEG comprised of Awan Arshad, Ms Violet Rong, Sun Yumingm, Steven Chen, Lu Tinghua and others.
Highlighting Pak-China historical friendship Zardari said Pakistan welcomes Chinese investors, in particular, to invest in the energy sector and help the government meeting its energy requirements.
He said the prevailing energy shortage was a great challenge for the government and was hampering our growth and economy.
However, he emphasised Pakistan possesses huge resources of different kinds of energy including wind and solar that could be harnessed.
He said having abundant sunshine and sufficient wind speed offered great opportunity for harnessing this clean and efficient source of energy.
Pakistan greatly appreciated Chinese experience of growth and looks towards Chinese expertise in overcoming the challenges facing its economy. While appreciating Chinese assistance and interest of the Chinese businessmen in various projects in the country, he reiterated Chinese investors would be provided all facilitation in their business ventures by the government of Pakistan.
He called upon the company to assist in solar water pumping system, especially in the rural areas, and in stand-alone small house solar system for rural electrification. He said the existing water pumps could be converted from electricity to the solar energy.
He asked CEEG to give advice on captive power plants and invited it to establish offices in Pakistan for which the government would extend necessary support. He advised the Sindh government, in particular should consider exploiting solar energy in meeting the energy requirements of the far-flung areas.
President said the availability of loan facility from the Chinese banks would further facilitate company's business in Pakistan.
Jia Yangang briefed the President about his company and their future investment plans in Pakistan in the energy sector on public private partnership basis.
He said CEEG wished to cooperate in the fields of technology, manufacturing, training and research in solar energy and its applications. He assured his Company's continuous support to the country in the energy sector.
Here's a News report on South Korean proposal to build 300 MW solar plant:
Board of Investment (BOI), Government of Pakistan and Concentrix Solar Company of Korea Wednesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to construct a 300 MW Solar Energy Plant near Quetta, Balochistan.
The MoU was signed by M. Saleem Mandviwala, Chairman Board of Investment from Pakistan side and Dr. Choi Moon-Sok, Chief Executive Officer Concentrix Solar Company. The signing ceremony was held at the PM’s Secretariat which was witnessed by Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ahsraf, Federal Ministers and Chief Ministers of Balochistan and Sindh.
Concentrix is a subsidiary of German Company and is keen to make investment in the energy sector in Pakistan. Dr. Choi Moon-Sok met the PM yesterday and apprised him of his company’s plans.
Here's an ET-APP story on renewable energy to overcome Pakistan's energy crisis:
The chief executive of the Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB), Arif Alauddin has said that a number of projects are in the pipeline to overcome the energy crisis in the country; giving relief to the people.
Giving an interview to the Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV), he said that 500 megawatts (MW) of electricity will be added to the national grid in the next few months. He said that his board is mandated only to attract private sector investment while the public sector was meant only to regulate and facilitate the process.
“Pakistan is relying heavily on fossil fuels to meet its energy requirements and the nation is spending more than $11 billion on import of petroleum products annually,” Alauddin said. The oil import bill will increase to $38 billion by 2015 and Pakistan remains at a strategic risk due its heavy reliance on fuel imports, he added.
He said that after the establishment of the AEDB in 2003, Pakistan has made considerable progress in this field. To a question, he replied that the board recently approved the New Park Energy Phase I – a 400MW wind project near Port Qasim. With help of the China Three Gorges Corporation, a 50MW wind energy plant in Sindh will be completed by next year The chairman said that recently, a memorandum of understanding has been signed at a two-day second Pak-China Joint Energy Group (JEWG) for setting up wind energy projects.
To another question, he said that a number of countries have successfully developed renewable energy sources to minimise dependence on fossil fuels. Realising country’s growing demand of the industrial and agricultural sectors and growing domestic consumption; the government has initiated several renewable energy projects to address the power shortfall, he said.
Here's a Daily Times report on planned biogas power plant in Karachi:
ISLAMABAD: IFC, a member of the World Bank Group is advising a Pakistan-based biogas company on the development of a waste-to-energy plant in Landhi, Karachi turning a serious environmental problem into a renewable energy resource.
The plant to be built by Karachi Organic Energy (KOEL) will convert cow manure into electricity while producing organic fertilizer as a byproduct. IFC will provide KOEL-a joint venture between Karachi Electric Supply Company Limited (KESC) and the Amman Foundation with advice on project development and financing.
When completed, it will generate up to 22 megawatts of power from animal waste that was currently being discharged directly into the sea. There is tremendous potential in this biogas project, said Tabish Gauhar, CEO of KESC. Its footprint extends beyond power generation. It will have a positive effect on the community and importantly on the environment. The plant will be the largest biogas project in the country and it is expected to serve as a model for future developments.
Here's an ELP report on Pakistan joining International Renewable Energy Agency:
President Asif Ali Zardari, Tuesday, signed the Instrument of Ratification for Pakistan to become a member of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
Spokesperson to the President Senator Farhatullah Babar said that the International Renewable Energy Agency that was founded on 26th Jan 2009 in Bonn, Germany, aims to promote widespread and increased adoption and the sustainable use of all forms of renewable energy.
To-date 149 countries have signed the statute of IRENA while 76 have ratified it. The Spokesperson said that recognizing the advantages of this international forum, Pakistan took active part in the formative phase of IRENA and participated actively in the preparatory meetings that were held before this forum was formally established.
He said that Pakistan signed the Statute of IRENA in June 2009 and became the 87th country to sign the statute.
The IRENA facilitates its member's access to all relevant renewable energy information, including technical data, economic data and resource potential data. It shares lessons learnt on international best practices, policy frameworks, capacity building, financial mechanism, technology transfer and related energy efficiency measures.
In view of the current energy shortage, the growing demands of an increasing population, the financial constraints and environmental concerns, the President has continuously been urging for adoption of alternative means of energy generation at the earliest possible, the Spokesperson said.
By becoming a member of IRENA, Pakistan stands to gain significantly, he said