Struggling to overcome chronic power shortages that are hampering economic growth, Pakistan is expecting to achieve financial close for power projects totaling 5155 megawatts by the end of 2015.
Pakistan’s Minister for Water and Power told a meeting on September 17 that both local and foreign investors are investing in these projects which will boost Pakistan’s current generation capacity of 23,538 megawatts. The country actually produce about between 14,000-16,000 mw from the existing resources.
Investors from China, South Korea, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have large equity contribution in new projects which will help the South Asia’s second-biggest economy that has suffered in recent years from power and gas shortages.
Frequent power breakdowns in sweltering summer and severe shortages of gas in freezing winter have often led to violent street protest in the world’s 7th most populous nation with nearly 200 million people.
Election pledges to overcome energy shortages helped twice-elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to return to power in 2013 and his government has since tried to focus on the problem through the mix of hydel, hdryo, solar and wind power projects.
The new private sector projects that will achieve financial close are 102 MW Gulpur Hydropower Project in Pakistan-administered Kashmir; 720 MW Karot Hydropower Project at Jhelum River in central Punjab province; 870 MW Suki Kinari Hydropower Project in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, 1320 MW Port Qasim Coal-based Power Project at Port Qasim in southern, Sindh Province; 660 MW Engro Powergen Coal- based Power Project at Thar Block-II, Sindh; and 320 MW Shandong Imported Coal-based Power Project at Qadirabad and 163 MW Grange Holdings Coal-based Power Project at Arifwala, both in Punjab.
“The presence of international investment groups/companies in the development of private sector power projects shows the confidence of the international community in the government’s policies,” said Asif, as quoted by an official statement.
China is funding several projects under a series of agreements signed this year with a total investment of $46 billion as part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor that will provide China with an access to central Asia and the Middle East.
Sharif’s government is expecting to add as much as 16,800 mw of electricity to the national grid by 2015-16 to meet rising demand from consumers which now total 21.7 million households, commercial and industrial units.