The Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif performed the ground-breaking of the country’s first ever Rs 15 billion 100MW solar power park to provide cheap electricity and help the country meet its increasing energy needs. The Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park will be expanded to produce 300MW in the second phase by 2015, while in third phase it will add another 600MW with a total power generation capacity of 1000MW by 2016.
The project will be completed by a Chinese company TBEA and produce electricity at per unit cost of Rs 15. The Bank of Punjab is providing 75 percent of funding for the project, while the remaining 25 percent will be provided by the Government of Punjab. The project has 400,000 solar panels at a cost of 131 million dollars. A 132KV transmission line for 400MW has already been installed, while another 220 KV line to carry another 600 MW will be completed in one year. The Prime Minister said his government would accomplish the task of meeting country’s energy needs much before the end of tenure of his government. He said the solar power project in Bahawalpur would be operational in a few months time and will attain its full capacity of generating 1000MW in a little over two years.
He said the dearth of electricity in the past had pushed the country backwards and its entire industry and agriculture sector had suffered immensely. He said the people of Pakistan were suffering in all spheres of their life as they could not get clean drinking water and health facilities. Businesses suffered as there was no electricity, he added.
Prime Minister appreciated the performance of Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif and his team for their dedicated work and timely completion of various development projects. He said good news for the people of Bahawalpur was that a motorway project linking Lahore with Karachi would pass close to their city, while another motorway will link it with Multan.
The Prime Minister further said the government was undertaking projects for the progress of the country for next 25 years. He mentioned the 2100km long Pakistan-China Trade Corridor that will have industrial estates and development will take place along the entire route. He said Gwadar will be turned into the most modern city and it would be a free port like Dubai, Hong Kong and Singapore.
He recalled the recent power project that would produce 660MW electricity, while another project at Gadani with ten units would produce 6600MW electricity. He mentioned another project at Jamshoro which would produce 1320MW, besides several others at Rahimyar Khan, Sahiwal, Jhang and Muzaffargarh would produce 2640MW in Punjab alone. Nawaz further said under various agreements China will help build different projects with 33 billion dollars.
According to him, Pakistan has a generation capacity of 23,000MW and in next eight years another 21,000MW will be added to the generation capacity. He said currently Pakistan was only producing 13,000MW. He also appreciated the Inspector General of Police Punjab for ensuring safety of the Chinese project engineers and workers. He also directed to take special and effective measures for the security of Chinese personnel.
The event was attended by Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif, Governor Punjab Chaudhry Ghulam Sarwar, Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif, Minister for Inter Provincial Co-ordination Riaz Hussain Pirzada, Minister for Food Security Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan Rana Sanaullah, Chinese ambassador to Pakistan Sun Weidong and President M/s TEBA Ltd Zhang Jianxin, Chairman Quaid-e-Azam Solar Power Punjab Arif Saeed.
Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said the ground-breaking of the country’s first Solar Power Plant had shown the grand vision of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who realised that this precious resource of sunlight be tapped for country’s progress. He said the project to provide energy for the next 25 years would light up every nook and corner of the country, without relying on precious imported fuel or natural gas. Shahbaz Sharif also lauded the US 32 billion dollars support by China for helping Pakistan in various projects. He expressed the hope that the first module of 10MW of the Solar Park would be operational before the advent of Ramazan.
Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Sun Weidong in his brief remarks said his country remained committed to helping Pakistan in its development and progress and meet the energy shortage. He said Chinese companies were helping Pakistan in different fields. He was appreciative of the Chinese companies and their workers for the dedication and commitment to the projects in Pakistan. The Chinese ambassador received a big applause when he said in Urdu “Pakistan aur China hamesha ke dost hain.”