Karachi, March 10: Pakistan can significantly reduce its oil import bill by shifting to renewable energy and can meet its rising industrial and domestic energy demands without burning fossil fuels in thermal power plants, the most expensive form of fuel.

With the ground breaking of country’s first 50 MW Wind Power Project, a significant milestone in country’s history, Pakistan has taken first step in wind energy to bridge the current energy shortfall which is adversely effecting the national economy. These views were expressed by Chief Executive and Managing Director of Fauji Fertilizer Company, Lt General (Retd) Malik Arif Hayat, while addressing the ground breaking ceremony of country’s first 50 MW Wind Power Project by FFC Energy Limited, a subsidiary of Fauji Fertilizer Company at Jhampir, District Thatta today.   The project is nearly 60 % complete and will start its trial production in June 2012 which would be provided free to cost till the start of commercial operations in November 2012.

He said that Pakistan is currently meeting 70% of its power need by burning fossil fuel despite the fact that soaring oil prices in the last few years have made it very difficult to economically generate power with current energy mix and consequently sustain economic growth of our country.

He emphasized that Pakistan needs to devise a multi-pronged strategy to deal with energy challenges. We need to increase our power generation capacity, reduce cost of electricity and decrease dependence on fossil fuels, all at the same time, he added.

Renewable energy resources like wind, solar, hydel and biomass are indigenous, abundant and green by their very nature. Moreover, project development time for wind & solar power projects is significantly lesser than coal or large hydel power projects, he added.

75 countries around the globe are actively implementing this technology for commercial power generation and 22 of these have already crossed 1000 MW installed capacity. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory USA, Pakistan has a potential of 346 GW of electricity that can be generated only from wind and if only 10% of that i.e. 34GW is achieved in the next 15 – 20 years Pakistan will be on its way towards energy security.

FFC’s investment in the ongoing project of 50 mega watt is US$ 135m. However company has committed to put up more wind farms with total capacity of 250 mega watts.

In the current project the company is installing 33 wind turbines of 1.5 MW each out of which 8 turbines have already been installed and the remaining will be installed within next three months. The equipment is being procured from Nordex of Germany, a renowned company in the field of wind energy which has over 4800 turbines with total output of 7500 MW installed in 34 countries of the world.