Pakistan looks to India for green energy know-how

NEW DELHI (PPI) - While bilateral relations between Pakistan and India may not be very cordial at the moment, businessmen across the border have found a new area for collaboration - alternate energy.   About 30 Pakistani companies sent representatives to Delhi during Renewable Energy Expo 2008 that ended on Sunday to scout for new technology and expertise to skirt over chronic energy shortage in that country.   "We had 38 businessmen from Pakistan with various business interests," said Waqar Ahmed, MD of Business Horizons, trade promotion group that brought Pakistani delegation to India.   Ahmed said Pakistani business houses were either looking at setting up of power plants to feed into national grid, or set up captive plants for their own units.   Making visit were some of Pakistan's top companies that included Sapphire group, which runs 13 textile weaving and spinning mills, travel company Sitara that also has subsidiaries in Canada & Uzbekistan, Crescent Group with multiple business interests such as oil exploration, financial services and textiles, and Pakistan's second largest textiles group Gulistan.   Pakistan has a target to generate at least 9,700 MW through renewable energy by 2030, or about five percent of its installed capacity.  "The government has already issued 93 letters of intent to private companies for setting up wind power projects," said Ahmed. The 93 projects will have a generation capacity of about 4,600 MW.  Sitara Chemicals Industries, which operates largest chemicals complex in Pakistan, has ambitious plans that hinge on ability to secure a reliable source of energy.   "We are already running a 80 MW plant, which supplies electricity to the complex and state power board. We need to generate 50 MW at least, which may go up to 200 MW," Sitara Chemicals chief executive Muhammad Adrees said. Head of Rs 140 crore company is keen to import Indian technology, as he felt "there was an affinity to ground conditions in Pakistan". Preliminary talks have been held with several companies, including Tata BP Solar. "We have not yet decided to set up a renewable energy power plant, but still exploring our options," said Adrees.   Sitara group already has an Indian connection, having sourced two chemical plants from here. "Right now, we have 20 Indians working in our complex in connection with setting up these two plants," said Adrees.

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