KARACHI: The Ministry of Water and Power has made a tall claim that the government will be able to add 10,000 megawatts of electricity to the system in the current calendar year.
“The ministry is making every effort to generate an additional 10,000 megawatts before the end of 2017,” Water and Power Secretary Younus Dagha said in a meeting chaired by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.
This increase in power production is more than double the capacity of new projects the Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB) expects to see in 2017.
According to the PPIB, the country will see the launch of six power projects having cumulative capacity of 4,907MW in the current calendar year.
These included three imported gas-fired power plants of 2,780MW, two coal-fired plants of 1,980MW and one hydroelectric power plant of 147MW, it said.
However, the expected increase of 10,000MW is approximately double the existing shortfall of 5,000 to 6,000MW. Total demand for power consumption in the country stands at around 25,000MW.
The Ministry of Water and Power had been working hard to generate maximum electricity with the most efficient energy mix, a Ministry of Finance statement quoted Dagha as saying. The liquefied natural gas (LNG)-based power projects were an efficient option to cater to the increasing energy demand, he said.
“Progress on the under-construction LNG power plants has been closely monitored by the ministry; these are progressing at a smooth pace as per the time frame,” the secretary stressed.
According to the statement, the meeting between the two ministries was aimed at reviewing the progress on LNG-based power plants.
Federal Water and Power Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif said they also discussed how to improve performance of the power distribution network. Generation and distribution areas were being improved to provide better services for the consumers, he said.
“The government not only wants to improve energy supplies, but also wants to find solutions for the future,” Dar commented.
According to the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra), the share of re-gasified LNG-fired power generation stood at 4.12% (or 2,962MW) in the system in December 2016.
The tariff for LNG power plants was 33% higher than the power produced with the help of locally produced natural gas during the month.
The LNG plants produced power at Rs7.04 per unit compared to the tariff of Rs5.28 per unit for the plants based on local gas, Nepra added.
The government kick-started test power generation from the 1,200MW LNG-based project in Sheikhupura, Punjab in November last year.
The plant will start adding 750MW to the national grid by March this year and will utilise its full capacity by December. This is one of the three LNG-based projects that will become operational in 2017.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 5th, 2017.