Letters of support issued for 11 wind power projects

A view of the $136m Jhimpir Wind Power project which has a total capacity of 50MW. The International Renewable Energy Agency estimates that Pakistan has up to 50GW of theoretical wind potential in Sindh and Balochistan.—Dawn file

ISLAMABAD: In a dramatic move, the Alternate Energy Development Board (AEDB) on Wednesday approved issuance of letters of support (LoS) to 11 wind power projects having a total generation capacity of 550 megawatts.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had expressed displeasure over reluctance of the Ministry of Energy to go ahead with these projects despite tariff approvals by the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) a year ago.

Many LoS agreements of these projects were to be signed during the recent visit of the World Bank president to Pakistan but had to be postponed over dilly-dallying by the senior bureaucrats of the energy ministry.

This had angered the prime minister who was told early this week that these projects could be subjected to National Accountability Bureau (NAB) investigation since almost all the project tariffs had been approved under cost-plus tariff formula without international competitive bidding. It was also reported that the Cabinet Committee on Energy in the previous government had also took some decisions to put on hold fresh renewable energy projects because of capacity constraints.

The levelised tariff of all these projects ranged between 4.7 to 4.8 cents per unit (about Rs5.60 to Rs5.80 per unit) as per exchange rates prevailing before November last year. The energy ministry had also told the prime minister that they had sought a clarification from Nepra seeking the go-ahead for signing of these agreements but the regulator had not responded.

When enquired, Nepra reported to the prime minister that its clarification or legal opinion was not required at all when it had issued the tariff determinations that was considered an acceptable and valid legal document. It reported that the delays had been caused on part of the energy ministry.

Immediately, Energy Minister Omar Ayub Khan called a board meeting of the AEDB to take up LoS issuance to 11 wind projects. Nepra has issued tariff for these projects and are scheduled to achieve their financial close by Nov 19. The projects cleared for issuance of LOS included 50MW ACT2 Wind (Pvt) Ltd; 50MW Artistic Wind Power (Pvt) Ltd; 50MW Din Energy (Pvt) Ltd; 50MW Gul Ahmed Electric Ltd; 50MW Indus Wind Energy Ltd; 50MW Lakeside Energy (Pvt) Ltd; 50MW Liberty Wind Power 1 (Pvt) Ltd; 50MW Liberty Wind Power 2 (Pvt) Ltd; 60MW Metro Wind Power Ltd; 50MW NASDA Green Energy (Pvt) Ltd; and 48.30MW Transatlantic Energy Pvt Ltd, said an AEDB statement.

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