Pakistan continues to look toward renewable energy sources to address the issue of power deficit and rising electricity tariffs. The latest initiative has been taken by the provincial government of Sindh.
The Sindh government has announced plans to set up 5 solar photovoltaic power plants, each with 20 MW capacity. The projects would be located in Thatta, Shaheed Benazirabad, Sukkur, Jamshoro and Larkana districts. No specific details about the timeline of the projects’ implementation or companies involved in the process have been revealed.
The Sindh province is the third largest in Pakistan, in terms of size. The province has Karachi as its capital which is the largest city in the country. The city’s power utility, K-Electric, is the only privately-owned power utility in the country. Karachi has been facing rapidly increasing electricity tariffs and long blackouts.
The neighboring Punjab province is working on the largest solar power project in the country – the Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park with 1 GW envisaged capacity. The first phase of 100 MW capacity is already operational while work on the second phase of 300 MW is underway. Solar power, and other renewable energy technologies, would help the utilities maintain electricity tariffs and also help reduce the huge debt accumulated over years of inefficient financial dealings.
The Pakistan government has been working with several international governments and companies to set up renewable energy projects. The Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park is being developed by Chinese companies which are responsible for supplying solar panels as well as construction. Norwegian company Scatec Solar has signed an agreement to set up 150 MW of solar power capacity. CK Solar Korea has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Baluchistan (another province) government to set up a 300 MW solar power project near the province’s largest city, Quetta.