GE Renewable Energy has this week announced the signing of an agreement to provide wind turbines for the largest wind project in Jhimpir, Pakistan, a 150 megawatt project being built by Power China in the Gharo-Keti Bandar Wind Corridor in Jhimpir.
The US Agency for International Development (US AID) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) currently predict that Pakistan has more than 132 GW (gigawatts) worth of wind energy capacity available to be exploited. The Pakistan Government has also set out its Vision 2025 which aims to increase the percentage of indigenous sources of power generation to more than 50%. Wind projects such as those being developed in the Gharo-Keti Bandar Wind Corridor in Jhimpir, in the province of Sindh, are a big step forward to helping the country meet its Vision 2025.
This most recent deal is for 87 of GE’s 1.7-103 wind turbines which will be provided to engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contractor, Power China, and upon completion will provide an estimated electricity equivalent to the needs of more than 50,000 Pakistani homes. According to information available on the Sapphire Wind Power website, it would appear that the latest contract is for three 50 megawatt (MW) wind farms.
“GE is committed to supporting the Pakistani government in meeting its goals of providing reliable power to improve the lives of the people of Pakistan,” said Dr. Manar Al Moneef, CEO of Renewable Energy at GE Middle East, North Africa and Turkey. “We want to increase and sustain Pakistan’s installed renewable energy capacity and annual wind additions. Wind power generation is an affordable & environmental-friendly solution, benefiting from a short implementation cycle delivering quick returns for the investment.”
The project name is clouded behind a number of subsidiary company names: GE specifically signed its agreement with Tricon Boston Consulting Private Limited (TBCPL), a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) set up by Sapphire Textile Mills Limited as an owner and operator of wind farms and is based in Karachi, Pakistan. Notably, Sapphire Textile is already a developer of wind farms, with a 52.8 MW project installed and operational.
“We are setting up the largest wind project which will feed the Pakistani national grid benefiting all sections of the community — households, cities, villages and industries,” added Nadeem Abdullah, CEO of Sapphire Wind Power Company Limited. “Pakistan has tremendous potential for wind energy, which is competitive with other generation technologies while having zero emissions. We are proud to be partnering with GE, a world leader in power generation technologies that continues to be a solid partner for us in our Group’s existing thermal and wind generation projects.”
Pakistan’s renewable energy capacity is currently dominated by 7.1 GW worth of hydropower. The country also has 591 MW worth of wind power, and 410 MW worth of solar. The solar market may get a boost in the near-term, however, with the country’s decision earlier this year to switch to competitive auctions for solar power projects, a move which will likely bring the cost of solar crashing down and make the Pakistani market much more attractive.