Federal govt’s permission sought: Punjab to begin development process on waste-fired power projects

The Punjab government has sought permission from federal government to initiate process for development of waste-fired power projects of cumulative capacity of 150MW, in seven big cities under ARE Policy 2019.

The permission has been sought by Managing Director, Punjab Power Development Board (PPDB) in a letter to Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar.

The Managing Director also gave reference of a meeting between Federal Minister for Energy with Provincial Minister for Energy Punjab and Energy Department, GoPb officers on January 6, 2022 wherein development of Waste to Energy (WtE) projects in Punjab also came under discussion.

According to PPDB Managing Director, during the meeting, the Federal Minister for Energy was in agreement for fast processing of WtE projects as ‘New Technology’ under ARE Policy 2019.

The MD has claimed that Government of Punjab, WtE technologies offer attractive option to solve not only the pressing waste disposal problems but several other challenges simultaneously such as greenhouse gas emissions from inappropriate waste disposal, shortages in power generation and limited space for landfills. Globally, WtE technologies have been successful in developed as well as in developing countries.

Hence WtE projects are considered as clean environment projects by means of scientific & safe disposal of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) in addition to electricity generation available for the grid. The key benefits of WtE other than power generation include: (i) cleaner environment; (ii) air quality improvement; (iii) safeguard against contamination of underground water table; (iv) reduction in air borne and water quality; and (v) lesser requirements of environmentally hazardous dumping/landfill sites.

The World Bank report “what a waste 2016” indicates that solid waste generation in Pakistan is around 0.43 kg per capita per day. Punjab is the most populous province of Pakistan with estimated Municipal Solid Waste generation of 17 million tons/year.

Government of the Punjab has established Waste Management Companies in major cities such as Lahore, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Multan, Rawalpindi, Sialkot & Bahawalpur for centralized collection of MSW. Tabulated information regarding the MSW generated, centralized collection and WtE power potential in Punjab is 150MW, detail of which is as follows: (i) Lahore, 60MW;(ii) Faisalabad, 15MW; (iii) Gujranwala, 25MW;(iv) Multan, 16MW; (v) Rawalpindi 18MW; (vi) Sialkot 9MW; and (vii) Bahawalpur 7MW.

Punjab government maintains that various investors have been approaching Energy Department, GoPb for development of WtE power plant utilizing MSW in large cities of Punjab. ARE Policy 2019 allows development of new technology projects on cost plus basis subject to approval of Federal Steering Committee under the Policy.

Accordingly, the Punjab government portfolio including WtE projects as new technology projects was submitted to Alternate Energy Development Board (AEDB) on January 5, 2021. However, meeting of the Steering Committee for approval of proposed projects is still awaited.

PPDB/ Energy Department, GoPb, in its letter has requested the Ministry of Energy (Power Division) to allow it to initiate process for development of WtE projects in Punjab under new technology on cost plus basis under the ARE Policy 2019. Punjab government has also sought concurrence of the Steering Committee.

PPDB has also proposed that block allocation may be reserved for WtE projects in Indicative Generation Capacity Expansion Plan and NTDC, Power Planning and Monitoring Company (PPMC) be advised for making essential provisions in upcoming IGCEP for WtE projects as new technology under ARE Policy.

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