GREEN ELECTRICITY IN SINDH TO SET AN EXAMPLE FOR PUNJAB

AMANULLAH BASHAR
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)

Feb 6 - 12, 20
12

Though the concept of bio-waste energy generation is not new to the world, yet it is being materialized in a tangible shape by Karachi Electric Supply Company at a commercial scale which is supposed to reduce the cost of power generation enabling the utility to pass on the benefits to hard hit power consumers.

The initiative is appreciable on the part of KESC. NGOs and pressure groups that never tired to raise hue and cry over energy shortage should also come forward to follow suit to make easy the life of the fellow citizens.

According to a report, KESC, as part of its fuel diversification, green electricity generation and sustainable development vision, is planning the development of one of the world's largest bio waste to energy project of its kind near the Landhi cattle colony situated in Karachi. This plant is likely to have the potential of generating up to 22 MW of electricity fueled from biogas alone.

A localized biogas plant is a socio-economically sustainable venture and reliable in comparison to wind or solar, which are vulnerable to extraneous variables, biggest being weather conditions.

The Landhi biogas project in Karachi will not only generate up to 22MW of green power but will also be producing up to 300 tons/day (tpd) of organic fertilizer as a meaningful byproduct. This organic fertilizer has special application in place of eroded soil, which has lost its utility and where standard urea fertilizer will not be effective. In addition to the above, this eco-friendly energy unit will also earn a significant amount of carbon credits, thereby making this project economically viable.

Under this sustainable, renewable energy project, up to 4,200 tons of bio-degradable waste will be collected on a daily basis largely from cattle farms in Landhi (feedstock) and organic food waste from industries, food outlets and wholesale markets throughout Karachi.

Under the signed memorandum with Karachi Dairy Farmers Association in December last year, the Association would provide 3,500 to 4,000 tons of cattle waste on a daily basis to KESC to be used as feedstock to produce biogas required for electricity generation. This landmark step will facilitate waste collection studies, project implementation, and rollout of many socioeconomic initiatives in the Landhi area of Karachi.

KESC has also signed an agreement with biogas technology providers Highmark Renewables (HRR Canada) for onsite technical studies (Phase I) leading to project plant design, which now stands completed.

During May to July 2011, HRR conducted on-site feasibility analysis using HRR's patented technology to produce biogas. The initial trial runs have demonstrated that the customized 'recipe' and feed plan are feasible, yielding significant amounts of biogas during the trial run.

Currently, KESC is moving into the Phase II of the project. This phase entails activities, which include land development and developing waste collection mechanisms, gold standard carbon credits, formation of strategic partnerships and financial close.

Furthermore, KESC is looking for ways to engage private and public sector entities for provision of benefits to the residents and workers of the Landhi Cattle Colony. At the moment, a 'social needs assessment' is in progress and going forward. The project team is looking towards evolving a mechanism to ensure that the benefits can be provided to the society in a sustainable fashion. KESC is looking forward to working with the local/city government and leading national and international NGOs, for developing a mechanism to successfully roll out this and other similar CSR initiatives.

ENERGY POLICY

Meanwhile, the cap on generation capacity of provincial power plant has been removed under the new national power policy and provinces are now free to set up plants of any capacity to meet their needs. This power devolution in fact needs to invite private sector to play its due role in combating the most nastiest issue of power shortage which has adversely affected socioeconomic development across the country resulting in flight of capital to the neighboring countries specially Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, African region and other countries. This potentially dangerous trend could only be stopped through improving the energy as well as law and order situation as both issues are scaring away the investors.

According to the provincial minister for power Shazia Marri, the government was considering the production of biogas from sugar mills distilleries. Marri pointed out that Chinese companies were preparing a paper for power generation through low-head hydel projects at main canals in Sindh as had been done in Germany and other European countries.

The minister for power has also emphasized the need for exploring clean, inexpensive, and environment-friendly, and renewable options for electricity generation including the wind and solar resources so that power generation needs of people could be met in the shortest possible time and best possible manner. She said the Sindh had been actively making progress towards exploiting the abundantly available renewable wind power resource in the province and under this initiative, the province would be able to generate 500-MW electricity through wind energy by March 2013.

In order to encourage investment in power sector, the government has offered 20 per cent return on coal projects. In this respect, at least one coal-fired power plant would be commissioned by 2015-16 while 19 companies have submitted a bank guarantee of $300,000 with the government for setting up renewable energy project in Sindh.