ISLAMABAD  - Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Tuesday directed the Ministry of Finance and the Water and Power Ministry to provide solar electricity to far-flung areas especially villages, located away from the national grid.

Chairing a meeting to review the Renewable Energy Development Projects here at the PM House, the Prime Minister also directed that off-grid applications like solar water heater, biogas and water pumping be implemented through renewable resources.

The Prime Minister said such application would result in significant saving of gas, electricity and would also provide organic fertilizers to the farmers. He said the government has initiated a number of projects in the power sector to overcome the energy shortage in the country.

Gilani said apart from hydel power generation, the country possessed enormous potential of power generation through other renewable energy resources of wind, solar, geo-thermal and biofuel energy.

He said the wind energy could produce 350,000 MW, solar 2.9 million MW and geo-thermal 2500 MW.

Arif Alludin, Chief Operating Officer of the Board, said in view of the vast potential of the renewable energy in Pakistan, this sector had become investors’ choice with offers from the private sector of generating 1500 MW of electricity.

The CEO apprised the meeting that projects of 400 MW would start by this year and the units would start generating electricity early next year.

He said the project of 150MW of wind project at Jhampir in the province of Sindh is already under construction and would start operation during the first half of 2012.

The CEO said it was cost-effective project for the remote villages and will be instrumental in social development through poverty alleviation and job creation.

The waste to energy sector projects are under various stages of development and would start production of electricity in the next two years.

The meeting was attended by Syed Naveed Qamar, Minister for Water and Power, Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Minister for Finance, Dr Nadeem ul Haq, Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission, Senator Syeda Sughra Imam, Secretaries of Ministries of Water and Power, EAD, Finance, Planning and Development, Petroleum and Natural Resources and other senior officials.