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Wednesday April 17, 2024

45 wind, solar energy projects awaiting approval under competitive bidding, CM told

By Our Correspondent
March 23, 2024
A representational image of wind turbines at a wind farm. — AFP/File
A representational image of wind turbines at a wind farm. — AFP/File

Forty-five proposed clean energy projects to be installed in Sindh with a cumulative generation capacity of over 3,000 megawatts have been waiting for their approval under the competitive bidding regime, whose auction has to be conducted by the federal government.

Sindh Energy Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah passed on this information on Friday to Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, who chaired a meeting on enhancing coordination between federal and provincial agencies for data sharing and revenue collection. The provincial energy minister said that 26 proposed wind energy projects with a total generation capacity of 1,875MW had been waiting for approval under a competitive bidding system. Similarly, 19 proposed solar projects with a cumulative generation capacity of 1,150MW have been waiting for their approval under the same competitive bidding system, whose auctions have to be held by the federal government.

After a discussion, the meeting decided that the Sindh government should propose to the relevant federal authorities that the first round of competitive bidding among the proposed clean energy projects possessing LoIs (letters of intent) should be conducted by the Sindh Energy Department. Otherwise, the Private Power Infrastructure Board, a federal entity, should conduct competitive bidding as per the rules of business for the renewable energy sector.

The CM told the meeting that a consensus had been reached with all the stakeholders for conducting competitive bidding among the LoI holders for setting up wind energy projects for producing clean electricity for Karachi Electric.

The meeting was also informed that the previous Sindh government of the Pakistan Peoples Party had decided to fund through equity contributions the project of building rail connectivity for the transportation of Thar coal to the upcountry. The previous caretaker government in Sindh approved a proposal to provide 50 per cent of the project’s cost as a loan to the Pakistan Railways, as this proposal has to be okayed by the Sindh cabinet.

A Finance Feasibility Agreement was reached between the Pakistan Railways and the Sindh Energy Department on January 31, 2024, for 50 per cent financing of the project’s cost. The CM asked the Energy Department to send a proposal for ratification of this agreement.

Data sharing

Chairing the meeting, the CM said that provincial and federal data collection and integration was most important for which he directed Chief Secretary Asif Hyder Shah to coordinate with the federal government.

The chief secretary told the CM that the necessary coordination between the FBR, Nadra and relevant Sindh government departments was in place. The Board of Revenue, Sindh Revenue Board and Excise & Taxation have signed a MOU with the Federal Board of Revenue for data sharing and integration. The CM directed the chief secretary to strengthen the data sharing and collection system.

Ground water

The CM said that there was a need to develop a Ground Water Regulatory Framework. He directed the Irrigation Department to work on a new water law for Integrated Water Resource Management. He added that the legislation should be passed for the Ground Water Regulatory Framework. The CM directed the irrigation minister to hire consultants for the new water law.

Corporate farming

The CM was told that the caretaker cabinet had approved a proposal for the corporate farming initiative in Sindh on December 1, 2023.

He directed the Sindh Agriculture Department to file proposals for the purpose so that projects could be launched. Shah said that there was a dire need to improve crop yield with the help of technology.