LAHORE: The Punjab government has embarked upon an ambitious plan to host the largest wind energy project in Pakistan.
In collaboration with Vestas Wind Systems, the government aims to add 1,000 megawatts (MW) wind-based electricity into its grid, and issued a Letter of Interest (LOI) to Vestas regarding the first 250MW stage of the proposed Quaid-e-Azam Wind Park in the southwest of the province.
Pakistan is facing a critical energy shortage, and the government is keen on exploring avenues within renewable energy to improve its power supply. The potential for 4 x 250MW indigenous wind power projects in Southwestern Punjab were identified by Vestas in late 2014 using the industry-leading Site Hunt® technology.
The government and Vestas signed a memorandum of understanding in February 2015. As part of the MoU, Vestas with the support of the Danish Embassy, would work with the Punjab government to facilitate securing approximately $2.2 billion of investment for these projects.
The LOI ceremony on Wednesday was held at the Chief Minister’s House were CM Shahbaz Sharif, former ambassador and Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs Political Director Jesper Moller Sorensen, and Vestas Pan -Asia region Vice President Sales Gerard Carew were present.
Political Director Jesper Moller Sorensen, who served as ambassador to Pakistan in 2013-2015 and introduced Vestas to Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif during his tenure, explained that Pakistan is emerging as an interesting market for Danish companies, especially in the energy sector.
He stated, “Pakistan is increasingly moving toward renewable energy solutions, where Danish companies are particularly strong. Denmark has long been a pioneer of wind energy, and Vestas is today a global frontrunner.”
He further added, “I would like to congratulate both Vestas and the Punjab government for taking their cooperation so far in such a limited time span. It has only been one and a half year since we presented the government to Vestas’ technical expertise. I have no doubt that this project will contribute greatly to overcoming Punjab’s energy shortage.
As this project unfolds, the Government of Denmark stands ready to support Punjab with building further capacity and expertise in the field of renewable energy.”
The Danish government plans to engage with the relevant government stakeholders in Pakistan to transfer Danish experiences in the areas of wind policy, technical integration of wind, and financing. The first 250MW project is targeted to start commercial operation in 2018.
Vestas Wind Systems, headquartered in Denmark, has delivered wind energy in 74 countries. It has installed 71 Gigawatts of cumulative installed capacity globally.
Gerard Carew, on the occasion, briefed the participants about the project. He informed that Vestas is committed to growth in emerging markets with Pakistan a key focus in the Asia Pacific region. “We are delighted to have reached this next important milestone in our collaboration with the Punjab government.
Through our industry leading Site Hunt® technology, Vestas identified opportunities for wind energy in Punjab previously not considered, and in a very short space of time by industry standards. We thank the chief minister and his government for the support, co-operation, and progress made under our MoU thus far. We now look forward to completing the detailed project feasibility studies and working with interested stakeholders to secure equity and debt financing, confirm orders, and eventually begin construction of these exciting projects.”
Globally, wind power is booming like never before. In 2015 alone, more than 40,000MW of wind power was installed worldwide. Among the main reasons for the positive development of the wind markets are the increasing economic advantages of wind power, rising competitiveness of wind power as compared to other sources of energy, and the need to select emission free technologies in order to alleviate climate change.
Source: The Daily Times