U.S. Ambassador signs financing agreement for 50MW renewable energy project

ISLAMABAD: United States Ambassador Richard Olson, signed on Wednesday a $95million, ten-year loan on behalf of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) to Sapphire Wind Power Company to build a 50MW wind power plant in Sindh.

Situated in the Ghoro-Keti Bandar wind corridor near Jhimpir, the plant will be designed to generate 133-gigawatt hours of emission-free electricity annually using 33 General Electric (GE) turbines.

Chief Executive Officer, Nadeem Abdullah signed on behalf of the Sapphire Wind Power Company.

“The provision of clean and reliable electricity is an essential building block for any economy,” said Ambassador Olsen with regards to the project.

He added that the project affirmed OPIC’s strong commitment to support Pakistan’s efforts at diversifying energy sources, alongside the States’ continued efforts to strengthen Pakistan’s economy.

“The Sapphire Wind Power Project will enable Pakistan to take advantage of its massive renewable energy potential to help meet unmet demand for electricity,” OPIC President and CEO Elizabeth L. Littlefield said in Washington.

The United States and Pakistan work closely together on projects designed to diversify Pakistan’s power generation beyond reliance on high-priced fuel, by tapping into Pakistan’s vast renewable energy potential.

According to a study funded by the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the U.S. Agency for International Development estimates that Pakistan possesses 132,000 MW of potential installed wind capacity – virtually equal to the world’s entire installed wind capacity in 2010.

OPIC has invested in 123 projects in Pakistan since 1975. Its current Pakistan portfolio includes 14 active projects worth nearly $300 million in key industries including energy, health care, financial services for small and medium-sized enterprises, and telecommunications.

OPIC is the U.S. government’s development finance institution. With services available in more than 150 countries, it mobilizes private capital to help solve development challenges, providing investors with financing, guarantees, political risk insurance, and support for private-equity investment