KARACHI (April 23): Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that Sindh currently contributes 935 MW of wind energy for the national grid from Jhimpir-Gharo-Keti Bandar wind corridor from 17 IPPs, including three CPEC early harvest projects which are UEP, China Three Gorges, and Sachal and additional 300 MW wind power projects are under construction and would be completed by October 2018.
This he said while speaking at CPEC Summit organised by a media group here at Bara Dari today.
He said that CPEC long term plan has already been unveiled and his government is fully geared up to derive maximum benefits out of it for the people while focusing on removal of energy and infrastructure bottlenecks. He added that Sindh government, in collaboration with international agencies and all other stake holders has finalized a comprehensive sector wise Sindh Development Plan that encompasses both CPEC and non CPEC initiatives for short, mid and long-term goals. “This plan lays special emphasis on energy and infrastructure,” he said.
Murad Shah said that during the 7th JCC meeting held in last November, 2017 in Islamabad he had the Sindh government’s belief that CPEC was a force multiplier for Pakistan. He added that it was not merely a road construction project but was rather a long-term development agenda for Pakistan. “The investment in CPEC is not a one-off event; it is an ongoing multi sectoral development process and I firmly believe that CPEC will transform the economic landscape of our country,” he said.
He said that Sindh was Pakistan’s largest economic hub and the second largest province. We have two commercial ports and a well-developed road network, Sindh hosts one-third of country’s largescale manufacturing industry and a quarter of its small-scale manufacturing units.
Murad Shah said the spatial layout of CPEC Long Term Plan was “One belt, three axes and several passages” offers innumerable opportunities for Sindh as three major cities –Sukkur, Hyderabad and Karachi have been declared node cities of the corridor. “We have the potential to exploit North-South trade logistics and develop coastal business zones,” he said. He added that coastal development to this list, for optimal utilization of two commercial ports and opening up of Keti Bunder. “Development and utilization of commercial ports would complement CPEC long term plan and Government of Sindh assures its full cooperation and facilitation in this regard,” he said.
The chief minister said that Sindh was the energy hub of Pakistan. “The government of Sindh, realizing the importance of renewable energy, started investing in green energy projects long before formal launch of CPEC,” he said and added “Sindh is also the only province which has a dedicated land grants policy for renewable energy parks,” He went on saying long term view of his government has produced sterling results. “We currently contribute 935 MW of wind energy for the national grid from Jhimpir-Gharo-Keti Bandar wind corridor from 17 IPPs, including three CPEC early harvest projects that is UEP, China Three Gorges, and Sachal. The Additional 300 MW wind power projects are under construction and will be completed by October 2018.
Murad Shah said that NEPRA has recently conducted public hearings for determination of cost plus tariff for pending projects. “We are hopeful that 35 companies to whom Sindh government has issued LoIs for generation of 2,450 MW would be able to complete their projects by 2021.
Talking about solar power generation, Murad Shah said that his was pursuing niche policies for off-grid and on-grid areas. He added that several off-grid villages, houses and schools in Ghotki, Sanghar and Nangar Parkar have been electrified and on-grid solar projects under PPP mode were being developed in Larkana, Sukkur, Thatta, Jamshoro, and Benazirabad. “The tariff for three Sukkur based projects is as low as USC 5.26/Kwh as compared to very expensive tariffs prevailing in other parts of the country,” he disclosed.
Murad Ali Shah said that in order to encourage investment in solar power his government has initiated a $105 million Sindh Solar Energy Programme which includes urban roof top solar programme for Karachi and Hyderabad, net metering, village electrification, 50 MW solar project at Manjhand, and a resource assessment and forecasting center for renewable technologies.
Talking about challenges, the chief minister said that Grid capacity, accessibility and connectivity were serious challenges for optimal and safe evacuation of power. “In order to eliminate grid issues, Sindh government has requested NEPRA to upgrade the status of Sindh Transmission and Dispatch Company (STDC) from an SPV to a provincial grid company,” he said and added “this would be in pursuance of Article 157 of the Constitution and NEPRA Amendment Act 2018 which has recently incorporated enabling provisions in the law to provide for electricity policy, plan, provincial grid company, and provincial distribution company.” He added that once declared as a provincial grid company, the STDC would soon lay high capacity transmission lines across the wind corridor to harness its true potential and to complement the NTDC system.
Talking about Thar Coal mining and power project, he said that were the flagship CPEC project of Sindh government. “It is also the largest public-private partnership in Pakistan and we firmly believe that Thar Coal development is a real game changer for Pakistan’s economy,” he said and added “as an indigenous resource, it will not only provide energy security for the country but will also save billions of dollars over the years by substituting imported fuel.”
After achieving financial close in April 2016, the Thar Coal project has progressed very swiftly, the chief minister said and added by the end May 2018 first coal seam would be available for extraction. “Accordingly, power generation plant will begin pre commissioning tests by October 2018 and achieve grid connectivity and synchronization by December 2018,” he disclosed the plan. He proudly disclosed that in May 2019, Thar Block-II would be producing electricity on commercial basis and two more CPEC projects-SSRL and Oracle coal projects wre expected to achieve financial close by December 2018 and June 2019 respectively.
Briefly touching upon Karachi circular railway project, Dhabeji Special Economic zone and Keti Bandar project, the chief minister said that KCR was a critical project for the city of Karachi, and his government has put special efforts to make $2 billion KCR project a part of CPEC, and it was approved by the 6th JCC in December 2016. “The project is shovel ready and Sindh government was all set to revive KCR but sadly, there has been a delay on the part of Pakistan Railways, issuance of sovereign guarantee, handing over of Karachi Urban Transport Corporation [KUTC] to Sindh government and consensus on shared corridor are the issues which still await positive decision from the federal government,” he said.
He said that as we plug the energy and infrastructure gaps, it is vital that we augment our existing industry and create more industrial zones for sustained economic growth. He added that one such initiative under the CPEC is “Special Economic Zone at Dhabeji”. Its bankable feasibility is being carried out. “I would like to avail this opportunity to offer two existing special economic zones at Khairpur and Korangi to Chinese and Pakistani businesses. The SEZ Khairpur is located on the main National Highway whereas Korangi economic zone is near Port Qasim,” he said.
Talking about coastal belt, Murad Ali Shah said that Sindh has 250 KMs of coastline, established industrial base, dynamic financial sector, and a substantial young population. He added that to cater for future economic needs and to ensure continued growth, a new port along with Power Park and industrial zone is be required. “These will bring varying degrees of benefits to the economy and to the country. As a supplier of jobs, ports not only serve an economic but also a social function,” he said.
He went on saying Idea of Keti Bandar power park and port is one such initiative under the CPEC. “Keti Bandar is technically an extension of Thar coal grand development scheme. Currently, its feasibility study is underway which covers a study of 2 X 660 MW Thar coal fired power projects with a potential to eventually generate 10,000 MW from Thar coal; power transmission line; railway link from Islamkot to Keti Bandar, construction of dedicated coal jetty and related infrastructure,” he said.
Finally, let me assure all the investors that security of all Chinese citizens is Sindh Government’s foremost priority.