Work on 7,000MW coal-based power plants likely to be abandoned

Published: October 27, 2016
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The prime minister directed the ministry to take up the challenges faced by Port Qasim Electric Power Company with the Sindh government and help address them on a priority basis. PHOTO: FILE

The prime minister directed the ministry to take up the challenges faced by Port Qasim Electric Power Company with the Sindh government and help address them on a priority basis. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: Several coal-based power plants with a cumulative production capacity of around 7,000 megawatts are encountering trouble and may be shelved because of unavailability of coal and funds.

These projects include the 6,600MW Gadani Power Park, 330MW Salt Range power plant and 150MW Lakhra power project, according to officials aware of the development.

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They said the government had stopped work on the Gadani Power Park and was considering restructuring its business model as the number of plants planned to be established in the park had gone down.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had inaugurated the power generation park comprising many plants. A memorandum of understanding was also signed with a Chinese company, but it also distanced itself from the project later.

About the Salt Range power plant, the Ministry of Water and Power has informed the premier that the project had to be abandoned as adequate coal quantity was not available that could be used on a commercial scale.

The project was scheduled to start electricity production by the end of 2017. It was a $590-million mine-mouth project and the Chinese company working on it also refused to push ahead with the plan due to lower tariff.

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The government has decided that since the Salt Range power project was being financed by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica), the Economic Affairs Division may request the development partner to sponsor a technical study to assess the commercial potential of coal deposits in the Harnai district.

The Ministry of Water and Power also informed the prime minister, in a meeting held in the last week of August, that the coal project in Lakhra had been put on the back burner in the wake of coal scarcity.

Turning to other projects, the prime minister directed the ministry to take up the challenges faced by Port Qasim Electric Power Company with the Sindh government and help address them on a priority basis.

He also said work on the Gwadar project with 300MW generation capacity should be accelerated and the issues delaying the project should be resolved. In particular, the government has taken a keen interest in the Thar coal-fired power projects and the prime minister is fully supporting them.

Coal deposits in Thar deserts have been lying untapped for a long time and the power production projects are expected to spur economic activity in the area and bring about a substantial socio-economic change.

The Thar coal mining and power projects will lead to energy security and economic prosperity of Pakistan, officials say. The projects will prove to be a game changer, providing a sustainable energy landscape for the country by utilising domestic resources and will also bring prosperity for the people of Thar.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 27th, 2016.

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Reader Comments (11)

  • Xnain
    Oct 27, 2016 - 9:49AM

    Gaddani has been abandoned a year ago due to need for setting up a separate jetty for coal storage.
    link text Recommend

  • Taimur
    Oct 27, 2016 - 9:52AM

    This piece unfortunately makes little sense. and I” being generous when I say that. The fact that the author can use “coal” and “sustainable” in the same sentence is both perverted and deeply troubling. Coal decimates communities, polluted waterways and makes the environment untenable. To say nothing of its carbon footprint, which makes it truly inconceivable for Pakistan to even fathom using coal to meet its energy needs; the country is supremely vulnerable to climate change and an impending environmental catastrophe.
    With coal plants a cadre of mediocre minded kakistocratic capitalists of this country will gain a lot (whether as investors or as already polluting industrialists who will enjoy the gains of this seemingly speedy energy solution), but in turn the people of Pakistan will suffer deeply with no respite and no escape. All the while the capitalist class will buy fancy (read gauche) getaways in Dubai, London, Toronto etc along with investor visa passports (to all except Dubai which does not even give you a passport in return for the millions you “invest”/hide there)….This then is the real tragedy of the Republic!Recommend

  • Faraz
    Oct 27, 2016 - 10:07AM

    No surprises here, this PML-N Govt is all show..no substance.Recommend

  • Shiraz
    Oct 27, 2016 - 10:22AM

    Good going! Keep looting the public. Our generations would suffer from the debt burden. But they should! We deserve this treatment since we elected this govt.Recommend

  • Reader
    Oct 27, 2016 - 10:28AM

    There should be no power projects based on imported coal. That’s just bad in everyway. We can go with thar coal only.Recommend

  • Sami
    Oct 27, 2016 - 10:45AM

    Gadani project was put on the back burner 2 years ago. It was replaced by 3 x 1200MW LNG projects and 1200MW sahiwal coal project. These projects are in advanced stages of development and will be operational next year. Govt’s policy is to end reliance on imported fuel for all future projects.Recommend

  • Bunny Rabbit
    Oct 27, 2016 - 11:53AM

    what a waste of money and manpower. Recommend

  • Sri Varahadev
    Oct 27, 2016 - 1:44PM

    What is the point of Pakistan changing Patron from the US to the Peoples Republic of China if Deeper than Indian Ocean, Higher than Himalaya’s, Purer than Ever Flowing Water, Closer than Lips to Teeth, Sweeter than Honey, Iron Brother PRC reneges on commitment to finance 6,600 MW Gadani Power Park? Pakistan must demand PRC draw down from its USD 3.2 Trillion FX Reserves and give Pakistan Jaziyah of requisite US Dollars to construct GPP under CPEC.Recommend

  • buga
    Oct 27, 2016 - 6:57PM

    More than 75 percent of CPEC is dedicated to power plants — makes you wonder whether CPEC has been overhyped. Cancellation of power plants implies that Sharif isn’t going to honor his commitment to end power outages by the end of 2017.Recommend

  • buga
    Oct 27, 2016 - 8:59PM

    @Reader:

    There should be no power projects
    based on imported coal. That’s just
    bad in everyway. We can go with thar
    coal only.

    I suggest you do some research on Thar coal. Thar Coal has enormous reserves but most of those reserves are under a deep layer of water which makes mining impracticable. Further – the BTU content of Thar Coal is relatively low – so low that it takes more energy to move it long distances than it’s worth … that means you have to build a power plant on site (google – mine mouth power plant) and that’s already being done. Recommend

  • CarlShmel
    Oct 27, 2016 - 10:12PM

    Best if Pakistan ask China for direct supply of Electricity on 90% concessional basis. This will solve the issue of capital as well payment. China also have the technological know how and spare capital to bring Brahmaputra river water to Pakistan. By doing so China will earn the permanent loyalty and gratitude of people of Pakistan by making them free from the obligations of IWT and force India to review the treaty.Recommend

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