ISLAMABAD:After a delay of more than four year, Sapphire Wind Power Project finally became operational on Monday and started contributing 52.8MW of clean energy to national grid. Federal Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif termed the project a milestone and suggested other power project managers to follow in the foot step of Sapphire. Achieving commercial operation by Saphire is an excellent example and can be showcased as model for other to follow, Asif said.The minister said that the Pakistan’s southern corridor offers great opportunites for investment in wind energy projects. He said that government has come up with investor friendly policies and hence the sector is much attractive for potential investors.
The company had been struggling hard to establish the facility from last many years. It first applied for generation license in NEPRA National Electric Power Regulatory Authority in August 2011. In July 2012, it was granted generation license for twenty years. The date of commissioning of the project was December 2013. In 2014, the company filed a modification request to enhance the wind turbines from 1.5 to 1.6 citing that supplier and manufacturer of turbines, General Electric, want to upgrade the wind turbine generators, due to software upgrades.It stated that the overall project design can be updated and developed with an inherent flexibility to seamlessly change the wind turbine generators model from 33 x 1.5 XLE to 33 x GE 1.6 XLE turbines. The modification will result in the overall increase in the installed capacity of the wind farm from 49.5 MW to 52.8 MW.
The modification was approved by Nepra last year, with a permission to increase the cost of the overall project.The wind farm has started supplying electricity to Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (Hesco) through a special purpose 132 KV D/C Jhampir-Nooriabad Transmission Line connected to a substation of power company at Jimpir, district Thatta. The company has installed 33 wind turbines of 1.6 XLE model manufactured by General Electric. The model consists of three blades and has a maximum rotor speed of 9rd per minutes, with a nominal power is 1600 kW.
According to Ministry of Water and Power, Sapphire is the fifth alternate energy energy project as 50 MW FFCEL, 56 MW ZEPL, 49.8 MW each of FWEL, 1 and 2 has already contributing to national grid. It is pertinent to mention that the energy deficit in peak summer crosses 7000 MW.