Islamabad-Government is likely to provide another opportunity to the investors for accepting the upfront tariff for Municipal Solid Waste based electricity. Only one company had accepted levelised tariff of US cents 10/kWh, offered by NEPRA, for generation of Municipal Solid Waste based electricity in one city while for the rest of the country, there was no response from the investors, official source told The Nation.

After cold response from the investors NEPRA is likely to provide another opportunity for the investor to invest in the Waste based electricity generation and provide the companies a new deadline for accepting the offer, the official informed. “Waste based energy is a bit different from other form of energy generation and here you have to offer them more incentives to attract the investors,” the official maintained.

In January 2018 National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) had announced the levelised tariff of US cents 10/kWh (Rs16 per Unit with the current conversion rate) for Municipal Solid Waste based electricity. The option for accepting upfront tariff by power projects was applicable for one year from the date of notification in the official gazette by the GOP.

The levelised tariff of US cents 10/kWh based on 25years operational period had been announced with overall capacity of 250MW wherein share of each province and Federal Territory have been kept at 50MW each. Talking about the upfront tariff of US10 cents, the official said that the price is lowest in comparison to India, China and Turkey. In china the prices per unit waste based energy is US 12cents, Turkey13 cents and India11.5 cents.

In Pakistan roughly more than 20 million tons of municipal solid waste is generated with annual growth rate of 2.4pc. All major cities i.e. Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar, Quetta are facing enormous challenges in tackling the problem of urban waste. Thousands of people die every year due to waste-related diseases. Considering the environmental issues, most of the countries in the region have already announced the generation tariff for Municipal Waste Power Plants and they are getting dual benefits i.e. disposing of garbage and generation of electricity through garbage.

The assessment of the tariff has been made on the basis of project cost of $ 3.5 million per MW keeping in view the available reference prices in the region. The construction period for such kind of power plants has been fixed as 24 months. Only for Lahore a Chinese company had obtained the license while for the rest of the country NEPRA will extend the offer, said the official. Nepra had already approved the grant of power generation licence to Lahore Xingzhong Renewable Energy Company Limited for setting up 40MW Municipal waste based power plant in Punjab.

The company will set up Pakistan’s first waste-to-energy plant with 40MW production capacity in Lakhodair, district Lahore. It will deploy a state of the art incineration type generation facility and the most suitable waste-to-energy technology, said a spokesman of the NEPRA. “You don’t have any other option but to disposed off the waste in a productive manner by using it for the power generation or the waste play havoc to the environment and lives of the people,” said the official.