Pakistan’s dirty electricity vs India’s clean electricity

Power rates
Capital suggestion
Farrukh Saleem

February 10, 2017: The Rewa Solar Park, a joint venture of the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) and Madhya Pradesh Urja Vikas Ltd, invited international bids for a 750MW solar park. Solenergi Power of Sweden bid an equivalent of  PKR5.19 per kWh. The capital cost of the Rewa Solar Park hovers around $690,000 per MW.

March 19, 2015: the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra), Islamic Republic of Pakistan, approved a levelised tariff of PKR14.85 per kWh for Quaid-e-Azam Solar Power (Private) Limited. The capital cost of the Quaid-e-Azam Solar Power Project stands at around $1.5 million per MW.

January 18, 2017: Nepra adjusted the tariff for Quaid-e-Azam Solar Power (Private) Limited on account of US CPI, local CPI, KIBOR and exchange rate variations. For the record, Nepra raised the tariff for the January-March 2017 quarter to PKR19.33 per kWh.

Something must be terribly wrong here: A Swedish company is willing to sell solar energy to Indians at an equivalent of PKR5.19 per kWh while a Chinese company is selling the same to Pakistanis for PKR14.85 per kWh.

Something must be terribly wrong here: The capital cost at the Rewa Solar Park in Madhya Pradesh is around $690,000 per MW while the same for Quaid-e-Azam Solar in Bahawalpur is $1.5 million per MW.

August 10, 2015: Nepra’s decision on Hawa Energy (Private) Limited’s wind power project was a levelised tariff of PKR10.60 per kWh. Amazingly, for years 1-10, Hawa Energy will be paid PKR12.47 per kWh.

March 4, 2016: The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission fixed the levelised tariff for new wind energy projects from April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017. For the record, the net levelised tariff was fixed at an equivalent of PKR5.33 per kWh (Zone 4).

March 31, 2016: The Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission determined that the “wind mills commissioned from September 19, 2008 to July 31, 2012 shall be eligible for a tariff of IRS3.39 per unit” or an equivalent of PKR5.33 per unit.

Something must be terribly wrong here: Pakistan is willing to pay Hawa Energy PKR10.60 per kWh while the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission has fixed a levelised tariff of an equivalent of PKR5.33 per kWh.

February 13, 2017: The Hindu, the Chennai-based English-language Indian daily newspaper, reported: “In another barrier-breaking development, the auctioned price of solar photovoltaic (SPV) power per kilowatt hour has dropped below IRS3 to IRS2.97 in Madhya Pradesh, providing a clear pointer to the future course of renewable energy”.

February 23, 2017: The Times of India, the Mumbai-based third-largest newspaper in India, reported: “After a sharp drop in solar tariff to IRS2.97 per unit, the wind power rates may also touch a new low and fall below the IRS4 per unit mark in an ongoing auction for 1,000 MW capacity”.

February 26, 2017: On 30 May 2014, PM Nawaz Sharif laid the foundation stone for a coal-based power project in Sahiwal. The plant will burn around 12,000 tonnes of coal per day and emit around 6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year plus “60 different hazardous air pollutants … a variety of toxic metals, organic compounds, acid gases, sulphur, nitrogen and particulate matter”.

Imagine, acid rain will soon be raining down from the skies on Sahiwal’s Niliravi buffalos and fertile fields of grain and sugar cane. And Sahiwal’s human residents will face elevated death rates from cancer of the colon, breast and ovaries as well as lung diseases.

Lo and behold, we shall be buying coal-based electricity from China’s state-owned Huaneng Shandong at the rate of PKR8.90 per unit. Remember, Indians will be buying clean solar power from a Swedish company at the equivalent of PKR5.19 per unit. Remember, Indians will be buying clean wind power at the equivalent of PKR5.33 per unit.

The writer is a columnist based in Islamabad. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @saleemfarrukh
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