Pakistan Army has reportedly decided to start generating power for all its institutions across the country.
Well-informed sources told Business Recorder that on October 22,2019, Defence Division informed the national cabinet that constant electricity supply is a vital requirement for all military garrisons which house associations and sensitive military installations. Currently, Army consumes 240MW of electricity costing over Rs 15 billion. The cost is increasing every year because of rising power tariffs, leading to consuming substantial share from Army’s budget.
Army undertook a series of extensive studies/ in-house discussions in order to explore options to obtain cheap power to reduce burden on army budget. Renewable Energy (RE), solar power, which is being promoted by the authorities stands out as the best alternative.
The Cabinet was advised that Pakistan has enormous solar capacity and Pakistan Army has an extremely robust/exclusive electrical distribution system for all garrisons to harness RE through funding solar parks.
Army plans to establish a solar park projects of 1-5MW each in various garrisons on Build-Operate & Transfer (BOT) basis. The pilot project is geared toward creation of 40MW of power. No public money is going to be involved in establishment of solar parks and their performance and maintenance for 25 decades.
Defence Ministry asserts that purchase of power will be at least 20-30 percent cheaper than from Distribution Businesses (Discos). However, government approval had to make payment due to purchase of electricity to private companies/firms providing solar electricity.
It was further submitted that all the codal formalities to execute the project is going to be finished in accord with the government coverage.
Another view was that the Cabinet may only look at endorsing the concept while upgrading and other details should be managed in the appropriate forums. It was also pointed out that the indicative prices was quite high and the patrons must look at them in view of the sharp decrease in prices of renewable energy in the international market.
A view was expressed that opening the electricity market was a good idea and needs to be considered on a broader scale, while at the exact same time taking into account the potential effects of carving out areas out of the jurisdiction of Discos and also the consequent results on ordinary consumers, especially when large capacity payments are to be made under the old agreements.
The patrons clarified that tariff determination was that the exclusive domain of National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) and a petition had already been filed with the Authority for licencing/ conclusion of tariff, however, endorsement of the concept from the Cabinet was hunted for its execution.
The Ministry of Energy also explained that Alternate Energy Policy was being reviewed after a lapse of over 12 years.