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OPIC Loan Supports First Renewable Energy Biomass Plant to Supply Pakistani Grid

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

(OPIC)  WASHINGTON, D.C. – Pakistan will obtain its first grid-connected independent power project using agricultural waste-burning technology thanks to a loan from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Government’s development finance institution.

Using locally-procured biomass, the project will help Pakistan address its shortage of power, reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and reliance on fossil fuel, and ultimately serve as a replicable biomass model for the rest of the country.

The project involves construction of a 12-megawatt power plant in Sindh Province 54 miles east of Hyderabad and 154 miles northeast of Karachi. The plant’s design allows for the use of a variety of agricultural waste products such as bagasse, rice husks, cane trash, and cotton stalk, all of which are in abundant supply locally. Electricity generated by the plant will be sold to the country’s grid through Pakistan’s National Transmission and Dispatch Company.

More than 50 new local jobs will be created by the project, as well as seasonal employment for approximately 300 unskilled laborers who will help in biomass collection.

“Biomass has great potential as a renewable energy source and is particularly abundant in Pakistan. As the first megawatt-scale renewable biomass project in the country, this project could serve as a model for similar plants around the country,” said OPIC President and CEO Elizabeth Littlefield. “We are very pleased to be able to support this important project for Pakistan.”

The U.S. sponsors of the project are SSJD Energy, LLC, a company owned by U.S. citizens; and the Acumen Fund, a non-profit venture that uses entrepreneurial approaches to solve the problems of poverty.

In addition to supplying electricity to a rural area, the project will also invest in social development activities supported by SSJD Energy, including the construction of new schools and support for existing schools; the development of health care centers; funding for agricultural research and development, including grants for farmers willing to harvest biomass-rich crops; and funding of small entrepreneurs for biomass collection and processing equipment.