Blowing Stronger: New Pakistan Wind Farm Adds More Than 50MW of Power
In mid-December 2015, a new power plant began feeding electricity into Pakistan’s power-hungry national grid … without burning any fossil fuels or releasing any greenhouse gases.
The 52.8 megawatt (MW) power plant, owned by the Sapphire Wind Power Company Limited (SWPCL) and located in the town of Jhimpir in the southern province of Sindh, runs on a clean, free and infinite resource – wind. It will be powered by thirty three of GE’s 1.6-82.5 wind turbines. Over the next decade, GE will also provide operations and maintenance services to ensure the optimal operational performance of the plant.
Pakistan has tremendous potential in wind power generation, and happily, wind speeds – and thus the electricity that wind turbines generate – pick up during the summer, when peak power demand is at its highest. Investment in wind facilities thus serves several purposes, including reducing dependence on expensive imported hydrocarbon-based fuels, increasing self-sufficiency in power generation and enhancing power output when it is most needed.
GE worked collaboratively with SWPCL to design, develop financing for and realize this unique project. The power plant represents several firsts, including the first time that a project opted for the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority’s 2011 wind feed-in-tariff regime, as well as the first time that the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) funded a wind project in Pakistan.
Moreover, the wind farm’s efficiency and generating capacity can be enhanced through the power of the Industrial Internet, which combines big data, software and advanced analytics with physical technology. GE’s Digital Wind Farm, for example, pairs wind-turbine infrastructure with digital infrastructure to enhance production, reduce costs and boost operating efficiency over the life of the wind farm – providing up to 20% more energy capacity than the previous generation.
Today, GE-built technologies generate more than 25% of Pakistan’s electricity. As the country continues to look for solutions to meet the energy supply and demand deficit, renewable power and the Industrial Internet can both play significant roles in helping to meet this critical developmental need.