The Chief Minister of Punjab, Shahbaz Sharif has been offered 3.2GW of exported electricity from China during a visit to discuss joint solar ventures.
The source of the electricity has not been disclosed.
The visit’s purpose was to discuss solar energy development to meet the current 5-6GW shortfall responsible for the current load-shedding energy crisis. Sharif said he was seeking joint solar ventures not direct aid from China.
He used the trip to visit solar power plants, and met with Masood Khalid, an ambassador for the foreign affairs office of the Xinjiang Autonomous Region, and Li Jian Hua, CEO of the TBEA Group the largest EPC company in China, according to NPD Solarbuzz.
After visiting a solar plant in Xinjiang, Sharif writing on his Facebook page said: “Addressing the energy crisis is one of the top priorities of the present government and in this visit is totally meant to find a quick feasible solution to this problem.”
He also noting China’s “keen interest and cooperation in addressing [the] energy crisis and infrastructure development of the country”.
Sharif also said in another Facebook statement, published yesterday, that: “Meeting the energy shortfall will regalvanise economic activity, unleash an era of economic prosperity and brighten the country’s future.”
Sharif told reporters during the trip that China had also agreed to assist in building a solar cell factory to boost Pakistan’s domestic manufacturing.
Sharif also mentioned the 1GW project underway by Powerway Group and Nizam.
It is unclear whether the latest offer from China for electricity exports will dampen the minister's enthusiasm for solar energy.
A memorandum of understanding for 150MW of solar in Lahore was recently signed between the Pakistani government and China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO), as well as a consortium of European countries.
Sharif also signed an MoU for a coal project between Qatar, China and Pakistan in September 2013 in an effort to heal the energy crisis.
The Quaid-e-Azam solar park, a 700MW project is also in the final approval stages for the first tranche of 100MW.
The Punjab government also has an earlier MoU in place with German solar company AEG, which is planning to build 450MW of PV in the province. It is also in discussion with the UK about PV cooperation.
Pakistan also set up a joint venture yesterday with Switzerland based renewable energy engineers, meeco service’s Pakistan subsidiary. The joint venture is to be named OurSun Solar Power and has already secured 1.7MW of PV projects in Lahore, with meeco to provide EPC services.