ISLAMABAD: A Chinese company has got initial approval for setting up a 300-megawatt imported coal-based power plant in Gwadar, which is part of the $57 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) comprising scores of energy and infrastructure projects.
The Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB) has issued a Letter of Interest to China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) for developing the power project in the port city of Balochistan.
In this regard, PPIB Managing Director Shah Jahan Mirza and CCCC Vice President Xu Jun signed a document.
Now, the company will seek tariff approval from the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) and start construction work after achieving financial close. CPEC’s Joint Cooperation Committee and the PPIB board have already approved the power project for further processing.
Gwadar is blessed with a warm-water, deep-sea port situated on the Arabian Sea. The port features prominently in the CPEC framework and is considered a crucial link between the ambitious One Belt, One Road and Maritime Silk Road projects. Economic activities foreseen at Gwadar in the near future will require a reliable power supply.
With the addition of 300MW Gwadar project, the number of power generation projects being processed by the PPIB has increased to nine coal-based projects of 8,220MW and three hydroelectric power projects of 2,714MW under CPEC.
Among CPEC projects, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif last week inaugurated the first unit (660MW) of the 1,320MW coal-fired power project in Sahiwal. Its second unit of the same 660MW is expected to come on stream by the end of December this year.
PPIB works as a leading institution of the government for bringing additional electricity generating capacity in order to improve the energy mix through a blend of imported and domestic fuel/resources for the upcoming independent power plants (IPPs).
A number of hydel and local coal-based power projects are at different stages of development to cater to electricity needs of the country over the long run, while imported coal-based projects are being processed as a reliable base load solution.
The government has repeatedly pledged that it will end load-shedding next year with the addition of 10,000MW power projects and more later.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 31st, 2017.