LAHORE: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is all set to inaugurate the first plant of Sahiwal Coal Power Project, which will supply some 660 megawatts to the national grid, augmenting the government’s effort to overcome the crippling energy crisis.
The plant is one of the many energy projects the PML-N government conceived and executed in a bid to overcome the crippling power crisis when it came to power in 2013. The project will be run through imported coal, a move by the government to change energy mix for inexpensive power generation.
Work on the project started in May 2014 with completion time of two years. The power project is Pakistan’s first supercritical coal-fired plant comprising two units each having a power generation capacity of 660-megawatt (890,000 hp).
Success of this project will lead to initiation of a second phase of the project, under which two 1000 MW plants would be added to the existing setup. The project is located 15 kilometers in the northeast of Sahiwal.
Environment Protection Department issued a No Objection Certificate (NoC) for this project to Punjab Power Development Board some six months back. The Chinese company has requested a change of name in the NoC.
The Department in a bid to address the possible health hazards and other environmental concerns had issued some 20 instructions regarding the project. Confirmation of Compliance report, a report declaring all instructions issued by EPD have been implemented, has not yet been issued for the project, which is otherwise mandatory.
A meeting of the provincial cabinet’s committee on energy has also been called for Thursday with a sole agenda of presentation on the project. The cabinet is likely to pass a resolution celebrating the government’s ‘success’ regarding the project and appreciating Chief Minister Punjab’s effort in this regard.
A high level Chinese delegation led by Wang Wenzong, Vice President of Chinese Group Huaneng, which is working on Sahiwal Coal Power Plant, called on the Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif on Wednesday.
The Chinese delegation congratulated the Chief Minister over completion of 1320 megawatt Sahiwal Coal Power Plant before time. Wenzong said that Sahiwal Coal Power Project was completed on fast-track basis under the continuous supervision of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.
He lauded the chief minister for the support he extended for completion of the project at every level. He added that second unit of Sahiwal Coal Power Project will also start producing electricity soon.
Shahbaz Sharif said that Sahiwal Project was a milestone initiative in Pak-China relations. He added that the Prime Minister would inaugurate this national project on Thursday.
He asserted that such a major power project with production capacity had never been completed in such a short period of time in the whole world.
He added that the project had not only broken the world record but also that of China. He said that the world was astonished at the transparent and speedy completion of the project in Pakistan, as electricity generation from Sahiwal project in a short period of 22 months was a historic achievement.
The Chinese Consul General Long Dingbin, Vice President of Huaneng Shandong Power General Company Ding Xingwu, Executive President of Shandong Ruyi Group Li Aiying, Party Secretary and Executive Director Huaneng Shandong Power Generation Company Li Xhuquing and other officials, besides Chairman P&D, Chairman Punjab Power Development Company Chaudhry Arif Saeed, Special Envoy of CPEC Zafaruddin Mehmood, Secretary Energy, Pakistan’s Commercial Consular in Beijing Dr. Arfa Iqbal and other officials were present on the occasion.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 25th, 2017.