LAHORE - No progress has been seen on around 53 projects of power generation in the province even after two and a half years of the establishment of the Punjab Energy Department, TheNation has learnt.

The sources in the department said that non-provision of funds by the Punjab government, lack of interest by investors and security and legal issues were the main reasons for the delay in the launch of the power generation projects. Around 1,400MW electricity could be added to the national grid on the completion of the said projects, revealed the sources. It is worthwhile to mention that average electricity shortfall in Punjab is around 4,000mw.

After the approval of 18th Amendment which empowers the provinces to set up their own power generation plants of up to 50mw, Punjab established its energy department in 2011 and allocated Rs 9 billion for the power generation projects. The department was allocated Rs10 billion and Rs 20 billion in the budgets of 2012-13 and 2013-14, respectively.

In the last two and a half years, the provincial government has managed to start only one 2.5MW power generation project, but several high-capacity projects could not be initiated due to financial constraints, the sources said. The department has not been given funds as announced in the three previous budgets,” they said.

The only project completed by the PML-N government was the distribution of solar bulbs among students. It is said the solar bulbs were distributed among the students before the general elections only to attract youth.

After coming into power again in 2013, the provincial government signed different MoUs with Chinese, Turkish and other countries’ companies to set up power plants at different places in the province. It is estimated that 500MW could be added to the national grid in next five years if the work was launched on the projects.

An official said the Energy Department had completed feasibility studies of five hydel projects of 25MW. These projects were suggested to be launched in Pakpattan, Sialkot, Gujranwala, Sheikhupura and Okara. Total cost of the projects is $130 million, but work has been launched only on one project in Pakpattan. The other projects proposed by the department with joint generation capacity of more than 13,00MW are pending.

Of the proposed projects, 39 are hydel generation projects in public and private sectors with total capacity of 190MW. There are three projects of solar generation in Lodhran, Kasur and Cholistan with 90MW generation capacity. Similarly, five are coal-based projects of 500MW capacity in Khushab, Chakwal, Pind Dadan Khan, Malikwal and Rahim Yar Khan. Two bio gas projects of 4MW capacity are proposed in Lahore and one project of electricity generation in Kallar Kahar is also in the pipeline.