LAHORE – Punjab government has made a major cut in budget for energy projects and allocated mere Rs 9 billion for different power generation schemes under Punjab Energy Department in budget 2016-17 as compared to the last year layout of Rs 31 billion.

The government claims the allocation has been reduced considering private sector investment on number of power projects which would produce more than 6,500MW during next couple of years. It claims of working with leading financial institutions to create an energy fund of USD two billion for development of energy infrastructure in Punjab.

“Allocation for energy sector has been rationalised to Rs 9 billion in public sector for the year 2016-17 which includes an allocation of Rs4.63 billion for hydel project under REDSIP,” read the budget document.

The government’s major targets and initiatives for 2016-17 are: completion of renewable energy development sector investment programme (REDSIP), hydel power generation projects at Marala, Pakpattan, Chianwali and Deg outfall.

The other important energy projects under construction in Punjab with the investment of private sector and China are: 1,320MW coal power project at Sahiwal in partnership with Chinese investor, 1,180MW RLNG based power plangts at Bhikki which according to the government claim will complete in Dec 2017, 900MW solar power projects with Chinese investment, 1,223MW power plant at Balloki which will complete in Dec 2017, 1,230MW RLNG power plant at Haveli Bahadar Shah Jhang to complete in Dec 2017 and 135MW hydro power plant through IPP mode.

The PML-N government had established the Energy Department in its previous tenure by allocating Rs9 billion in budget 2011-12 with the purpose to solely focus on power generation in worst load shedding hit province. The provincial government had allocated Rs10 billion in financial year 2012-13, Rs20 billion in 2013-14, Rs31 billion in 2014-15 and Rs31 billion in fiscal year 2015-16 for various power generation schemes.