Chinese firm offers ‘energy from garbage’ project again

ISLAMABAD: The capital’s civic authorities have received a fresh set of proposals from a Chinese firm for producing energy from the municipal waste of the city.

This is not the first time that the capital’s civic authorities have heard such proposals and it is unclear whether this plan will succeed where others have failed.

The Chinese Firm Hong Zezou King Young has approached the Capital Development Authority (CDA) and the Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation (IMC) and offered to develop a plant, free of cost, to produce energy from solid waste generated in the capital.

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“We have requested the CDA and IMC to install a plant for the production of energy from solid waste, free of cost,” Power and Environment Development Corporation (PEDC) Legal Director Akhlaq Haider Chatta told the Express Tribune.

The PEDC is a consulting firm engaged by Hong Zezou King Young.

“We suggested that the group will invest $50 million to build the plant but the civic authorities would have to ensure uninterrupted supply of solid waste, as well as a designated space for establishing the plant to produce electricity from municipal waste,” Chatta explained.

He added that the firm had also ignored another proposal for collection and transportation of solid waste at the source at rates lower than what the civic body was currently paying for collection and transport of municipal waste.

Chatta said that the firm was already in the waste-to-energy business, operating a 2,600-megawatt project in China.

He said that prior to this no such project existed in Pakistan and continued that the Chinese firm was intending to develop the plant under the 2006 policy formulated by the Alternate Energy Board without taking any advance or charging a tipping fee.

The PEDC legal director said that earlier this month, the national power regulator — the National Energy and Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) — had announced a Competitive Upfront Tariff (CUT) of 10.007 cents per unit (kilowatt hour) for waste-to-energy projects for a period of 25 years.

The overall capacity cap was set at 250MW, with 50MW share to each province and the Federal Territory at the beginning of this month.

“We are in the process of preparing a document for the Request for Proposal (RFP), which will be finalised after the arrival of the Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation (IMC) Mayor Sheikh Anser Aziz who is currently out of the country,” CDA Director Sanitation Sardar Khan Zimri told The Express Tribune.

In the past, civic bodies had engaged in negotiations with Chinese firms to produce electricity from city garbage but nothing had materialised.

In March last year Chinese company Chengdu Xingrong Group had proposed to build a clean energy power plant to produce electricity by burning solid waste. Later Anhui Shengyun Environment-Protection Group had offered to build a similar project.

According to IMC data the civic body collects around 700 tonnes of waste from the developed sectors of the federal capital daily, which is expected to increase to 1,000 tonnes in the future.

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Unfortunately, the civic bodies could not build a landfill project due to issues of possessing acquired sites. Subsequently, the authority continued the re-location of landfill sites from Kuri to Sector H-10 to Sector I-12 and later on it shifted them to Sector I-14 and Sector I-15.

Last year, CDA announced that it will build a landfill site in Sector I-17. But later on, the entire sector was reserved for the development of the health city.

Now, the CDA is considering developing a landfill site in Sangjani, near the Margalla Hills, as a permanent landfill site for the city.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 23rd, 2018.

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