QUETTA: Senior officials from the government, along with Chinese officialsm, will perform the ground-breaking ceremony of 1,320MW coal-fired power plant, in Hub town of Lasbela district, Balochistan, on Tuesday.
The project, which was set up by Hub Power Company (HUBCO) and China Power International Holding Ltd (CPIH), is being constructed by China Power Hub Generation Company (CPHGC).
One of the largest coal-based power projects being constructed under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, it will be built at an estimated cost of $2 billion. The project is expected to contribute 9 billion kWh of electricity annually to the national grid supporting about 4 million Pakistani household in yearly power consumption.
Expensive power generation is one of the biggest issues facing Pakistan’s power sector, however, cheap electricity production through coal will help reduce the power sector deficit and ultimately bring down circular debt.
Currently, CPIH has 74% share while, HUBCO has 26% share in CPHGC. The project would consume an estimated 3.8 million tons of coal per annum. A dedicated jetty terminal would also be constructed alongside the power plants to import coal directly to the plant from the sea. China Development Bank (CDB) is leading the bank consortium that is providing funding for this project.
The boiler units being used for this project are state-of-the-art super critical technology-based. This super critical technology is widely used in most of the developing countries to improve the coal efficiency, to lower the cost of fuel and to cut down the emissions.
In addition to that, Electro Static Precipitators (ESPs) are installed to control particulate matter emissions in this project. Low NOx (Nitrogen Oxides) burners for burning of pulverised coal are specially designed to reduce NOx (Nitrogen Oxides) emission in comparison with other burners.
CPHGC is employing all these technologies and will spend around 10% of project cost on these pollution control technologies. A detailed Environment and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) has been carried out at site. The site will follow all NEQS (National Environment Quality Standards) and IFC (International Finance Corporation) standards.
CPHGC CEO Zhao Yonggang said that the 1,320 MW coal-fired power project is the largest power project being constructed in Balochistan province under CPEC and it will bring immense socio-economic benefits for the country, specifically for Balochistan.
The province will receive a tremendous boost during the construction and the operation period of the project, which will last during the project lifetime. The project construction will provide opportunities through induction of skilled, semi-skilled and un-skilled workforce by Project Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractors though sub-contractors during the construction period.
In addition, other economic activities around the project site are also likely to witness a major increase.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 21st, 2017.