The sun ain’t shining on Sindh’s solar energy project

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KARACHI – Despite having the potential of generating 50,000 megawatts of solar energy, the Sindh government is yet to initiate any major solar energy scheme. The only one planned, in 2009, ended up in cold storage due to the apathy of the authorities concerned, Pakistan Today has learnt.
The planned scheme was meant to generate 50MW electricity through solar energy, and was included in the Annual Development Programme (ADP) 2009-10. Interestingly, only a single meeting of Sindh’s officials was held to discuss the project – on August 26, 2009 – which was chaired by the additional chief secretary (Development).
Decision taken at the meeting included holding another meeting on the subject, ensuring the presence of Asian Development Bank (ADB) representatives, meetings with stakeholders to prepare small and medium-sized renewable energy project (5-10 MW) in Sindh’s costal belt, feasibility report of the proposed project by the Environment & Alternative Energy Department.
That same year, the scheme was moved to Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Qaim Ali Shah for approval by the Environment and Alternative Energy Department. The department subsequently managed to get the CM’s approval, sources explained. The Environment & Alternative Energy Department had prepared a PC-I for the project on the basis of a similar project prepared by Punjab government, sources added, but all this has thus far only been done in official documents.
The modalities for a 50 MW solar-thermal plant in the province could not be finalized by the authorities concerned, however, and not a single decision made in the meeting held on August 26, 2009 was implemented seriously. No subsequent meetings took place, and the project was put in cold storage.
“Sindh has a potential to easily generate at least 50,000MW by using wind and solar energy at the coastal belts of the province, but the lack of progress has meant that even the ADB could not be approached thus far for financial assistance,” sources said.