SIFC Urges Resolution of Bureaucratic Hurdles for TAEL Wind Power Project

SIFC Secretariat has intensified efforts to expedite the resolution of bureaucratic obstacles hampering the progress of the M/s TAEL wind power project.

The Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) Secretariat has intensified efforts to expedite the resolution of bureaucratic obstacles hampering the progress of the M/s TAEL wind power project, according to informed sources speaking to the media.

The project, a 49.5MW wind power endeavor situated at Jhimpir, Sindh, has encountered administrative challenges, notably concerning tariff determination by the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) and approval of changes in shareholding by the Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB).

A meeting convened on February 13, 2024, delved into these pivotal issues confronting TAEL’s quest for financial closure. The project falls under Category-II of the CCoE decision of April 1, 2019, and is marked as “committed” under the latest IGCEP of February 2023.

Nepra’s representative disclosed that a tariff petition was lodged in January 2023, with a public hearing convened in July of the same year. Nepra’s expert panel is currently in the advanced stages of finalizing the tariff determination process.

On the other hand, the PPIB director emphasized the necessity of synchronizing the project’s evacuation arrangement with the tariff determination timelines. The sponsors assured that the grid interconnection study for the project had already received approval.

The General Manager of NTDC affirmed that the evacuation arrangement for TAEL is in place, suggesting that only a short transmission line might be required to connect the project to the grid. This assurance aligns with the project’s timeline, ensuring the availability of additional lines and power evacuation before the scheduled commercial operations date, approximately 27 months from the meeting date.

Regarding the change in shareholding, the sponsors conveyed that the request for altering the project company’s shareholding structure was submitted to PPIB in September 2022. The PPIB director acknowledged the submission and disclosed that a committee was constituted to provide recommendations on the matter.

However, certain legal concerns raised by the committee prompted referral to the Ministry of Law. Response from the Ministry of Law has been received, paving the way for the matter to be presented before the Board for approval.

Following extensive deliberation, the meeting resolved that Nepra would provide tariff determination by the end of the first week of April 2024, while the approval of the change in shareholding would be granted by the PPIB Board within February 2024.

The participants at the meeting included representatives from financial advisors (Bridge Factor), Director Wind/Solar PPIB, SM Farhad (Din Group), DGM Tech (CPPA-G), Mustafa Tapal (Tapal Group), JS (T) Power Division, Co-coordinator Energy SIFC, Co-coordinator Power (SIFC), Coordinator Power (SIFC), and SME Specialist (SIFC).

In summary, the concerted efforts of the SIFC Secretariat and relevant stakeholders signify a proactive approach towards overcoming bureaucratic hurdles, thereby fostering the advancement of crucial renewable energy projects like TAEL’s wind power initiative.