US Ambassador signs financing agreement for 50-mw renewable energy project

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US Ambassador in Pakistan Richard Olson signed on behalf of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) a $95 million [over Rs 9.96 billion], ten-year loan to Sapphire Wind Power Company to build a 50-megawatt (MW) wind power plant in the Ghoro-Keti Bandar wind corridor near Jhimpir in Sindh. Chief Executive Officer Nadeem Abdullah signed on behalf of the Sapphire Wind Power Company.

“The provision of clean and reliable electricity is an essential building block for any economy,” Ambassador Olson said. “This project affirms OPIC’s commitment to support efforts by Pakistan to diversify energy production to include important contributions from renewable energy sources, and demonstrates the United States’ continued commitment to strengthening Pakistan’s economy, and with it, the prosperity of its citizens.”

“The Sapphire Wind Power Project will enable Pakistan to take advantage of its massive renewable energy potential to help meet unmet demand for electricity,” OPIC President and CEO Elizabeth L. Littlefield said in Washington today. “We are thrilled to partner with Sapphire and General Electric to bring this project to realization.”

The 50-megawatt wind power plant in southeastern Pakistan’s Ghoro-Keti Bandar wind corridor will use 33 General Electric (GE) turbines and is designed to generate 133 gigawatt hours of emission-free electricity annually. The United States and Pakistan work closely together on projects designed to diversify Pakistan’s power generation beyond reliance on high-priced fuel oil and tap Pakistan’s vast renewable energy potential. According to a study funded by the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the U.S. Agency for International Development estimates that Pakistan possesses 132,000 MW of potential installed wind capacity – virtually equal to the world’s entire installed wind capacity in 2010.

OPIC has invested in 123 projects in Pakistan since 1975. Its current Pakistan portfolio includes 14 active projects worth nearly $300 million in key industries including energy, health care, financial services for small and medium-sized enterprises, and telecommunications.

OPIC is the U.S. government’s development finance institution. It mobilizes private capital to help solve critical development challenges, providing investors with financing, guarantees, political risk insurance, and support for private-equity investment funds. Established in 1971, OPIC operates on a self-sustaining basis at no net cost to American taxpayers. OPIC services are available for new and expanding businesses in more than 150 countries worldwide.

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