Cement Manufacturing on Solar Plants should be Welcomed

by M. Wasim
Cement on solar energy

According to a news reports a good number of cement manufacturers are setting up solar and coal-fired power plants to cut down their electricity expenses, which are growing day by day.  The manufacturers argue that if the cement makers do not invest in alternative energy as power solutions, the cost of making cement would increase by at least Rs 60 per 50 kg per bag based on the current grid power tariff.

Shifting cement plant on solar indeed is a good move, and the government should encourage it. But at the same time the government also must check and discourage that makers do not opt for coal-fired power plant, which would multiply the woes of environmental degradation, both on land and in the atmosphere.

Growing Fuel-based Cement Plants in Punjab

On the other hand the Punjab government issued 22 NOCs for setting up cement factories. Punjab Minister for Industry and Commerce Mian Aslam Iqbal while presiding over a meeting held at the Punjab Board of Investment and Trade last week termed more cement power plants a monetary success and said the completion of 16 under-construction cement factories in the province will generate an overall investment of Rs 600 billion and thousands of jobs.

The 16 factories included four in Mianwali district, one in Pind Dadan Khan, two each in Taxila and Dera Ghazi Khan and seven in other parts of the province. The construction of three of the 16 factories is at an advanced stage, so they are likely to start production by the end of this year. None of these plants would be solar-energy based.

Government Miscommitment towards Environment

Despite government’ pledge to bring down the temperature up to 2 degree centigrade to arrest climate change as per the international COP commitments, it seems the ruling party is more interested in concrete and asphalt production just to minting money.

While many cement manufacturers has decided and even started to explore environmentally friendly renewable energy solutions without any major capacity expansion. They have also informed the Pakistan Stock Exchange about their plans and commissioning of solar and coal-fired plants.

Cement Players Shifting on Eco-friendly Plants

  • Attock Cement Pakistan Ltd says a Rs1.8 billion 20-megawatt solar power plant has been commissioned this year in collaboration with Attock Energy Pvt Ltd and leading Chinese suppliers.
  • Power Cement Pvt Ltd signed an agreement with Burj Solar Energy Ltd for procurement of electricity on a fixed tariff (around 40% lower than the existing grid tariff) for the next 20 years.
  • Flying Cement Company Ltd has announces that it successfully started commercial operations of 12 MW captive power plant in District Khushab.
  • Bestway Cement Ltd has decided to set up a brownfield cement plant with a capacity of 7,200 tons clinker per day at its Hattar Site, District Haripur, Khyber Pakhtunkhawa, however that would be linked with a nine-megawatt Waste Heat Recovery Plant.
  • Maple Leaf Cement Factory Company claims the company signed a contract with plant supplier zero carbon for a 5 MW solar plant at the existing plant site in Iskandarabad Mianwali.

Hope sanity prevails in government corridors


Editorial, Infocus

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