LAHORE: 5000 acres of land allocated for solar power projects

Provincial energy minister says private companies can get land for $1 per acre per year on 20 years’ lease

The Punjab government has decided to allocate 5,000 acres of land for private solar power projects in Cholistan. The land will be allotted to the solar power sector investors at a nominal rate of $1 per acre per year for 20 years lease. Out of this 5,000 acres land, 2,500 acres land is located in Maroot, district Bahawalnagar and the rest 2,500 acres land is located on Din Garh Road, tehsil Yazman district Bahawalpur.

This was disclosed by Provincial Minister for Energy Sher Ali Khan while talking with a delegation of China Power International, Beijing headed by Wang Zhi Yin listed in Hong Kong on Friday.

The minister informed the delegates that two grid stations of 66 KW each are already working in the vicinity of Maroot and Yazman under the national power transmission system, which could be easily linked with the proposed coal-fired power plants.

He said the Punjab government was ready to offer investment in hydro-power generation, solar-power generation and establishment of bi-mass fired power plants along with wind-power plants and coal-fired power plants on the basis of Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT), Build-Own-Operate-Transfer (BOOT) and on the basis of Build-Own and Operate (BOO) also.

Six coal-fired power projects are already in the pipeline, which would generate 420 megawatts (MW) electricity, the minister added. He requested the Chinese investors to consider installation of solar power projects in Cholistan. The government will provide them with the required land on lease under soft conditions besides giving total relaxation in sales tax on the imported machinery, which is not manufactured locally. He apprised the delegation of 500 KV grid station and the coal-fired power plant working at Rahim Yar Khan and informed that the Punjab government is negotiating with the federal government to collaborate in developing energy corridor from Gadani to Karachi coastal area to facilitate inline transportation of imported coal to different areas of Punjab where the land required for coal-fired power generation will be leased on the market rate. He assured the delegation that NEPRA will ensure 20 percent IRR for the locally explored coal from the mines of Punjab while 17 percent return will be assured in the case if imported coal is used.

A road map for installation of 1,400 MW power projects by China Power International was finalised during the meeting. According to the agreement, these power projects will start yielding electricity in a period not exceeding two-and-a-half years. The meeting was told that the government of Punjab was importing coal at the rate of $95 per tonne. The need for import of coal will drastically reduce when the import of shale gas from USA will commence. There are 596 million tonnes reserves of coal in Punjab and the provincial government was planning to establish 50 mine mouth projects of 200 MW besides planning for 270 MW coal-fired power project in Muzaffargarh and eight power projects of 50 MW each in Sunder Industrial Estate Lahore and in the other industrial estates all over Punjab.

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