Pakistan to add more than 5,000 MW by June 2010

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN - At the 77th meeting of the Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB) held in Islamabad, Pakistan, the Minister for Water and Power, Raja Parvez Ashraf, announced that the private sector would add 3,480 megawatts (MW) of electricity to the national grid within the next two years.

Within one year, 2,380 MW would be added, and the remaining 1,100 MW would be added the following year.

The minister blamed the past government for mismanaging the power sector, which currently faces an acute power shortage. The minister appreciated the contribution of the PPIB team to the new government's efforts to overcome the power crisis.

The government had invited bids for several 1,500-MW fast track projects, and the PPIB responded positively for 3,000 MW. In an effort to eliminate load shedding, eight power projects set up by the private sector with a total capacity of 1,366 MW will be commissioned in 2009-10.

The Pakistan government has formulated plans to generate 25,456 MW of power by 2016. This will increase the country's current power capacity from 17,796 MW to 43,252 MW. The plan takes into account capacity generation by both the government and the private sector. About 30% of the total power capacity is currently contributed by the private sector.

There are about 16 independent power producers (IPPs) in Pakistan, contributing over 5,500 MW to the national grid. All IPP projects have been implemented on a build-own-operate policy.

Pakistan currently faces a demand-supply gap of almost 5,000 MW, which is expected to rise in the future unless all the envisioned plans are implemented within the defined timeframes. About 72 projects with a total capacity of 25,456 MW have been approved, and several are already underway.

Out of these, about 11,276 MW will be generated through 38 oil- and gas-based projects, 9,775 MW through 34 hydropower projects, 2,400 MW through two coal projects, 1,005 MW through three nuclear power projects, and 1,000 MW will be imported from Iran. Of these, 40 projects with a total capacity of 11,021 MW will be set up by IPPs.

Pakistan intends to set up its nuclear plants with China's help.

Within the next two years, 21 state and private sector power projects will add 5,139 MW of electricity to the national grid between December 2008 and June 2010. These projects will consist of 11 thermal power plants, two hydropower projects, and the remaining eight will be oil- and gas-based. Of the proposed projects, 19 are IPPs and will be spread across the provinces of Balochistan, Punjab, and Sindh.

The Asian Development Bank (Manila, Philippines) recently announced that it will extend a loan of $810 million to Pakistan over 10 years. The loan will be released in several installments and is meant to aid Pakistan in its Power Distribution Investment Program for 2008-2017.

The investment program is estimated to require $5.2 billion. The funding will support the government's aim to expand power coverage in rural areas, provide a safe and reliable supply of power, and fulfill an estimated annual GDP growth rate of 8% between 2005 and 2015.


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