ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet, which is scheduled to meet on Tuesday (today), is likely to approve gas supply for the fourth 1,263-megawatt liquefied natural gas (LNG)-based power plant in Punjab in a bid to overcome electricity crisis in the upcoming summer season.
The previous government of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had approved this plan and former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had inaugurated the plant.
This is the fourth LNG-based power plant being built in Punjab for which the Power Division is seeking approval for gas provision through Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL). Already, three LNG-based power plants of about 3,600MW capacity are running in the province.
Earlier, the Private Power and Infrastructure Board, in its meeting, approved the construction of an LNG-based power plant near Trimmu barrage in Jhang district, Punjab at an estimated cost of $802 million.
The Cabinet Committee on Energy also gave the go-ahead for developing the LNG-power project near Trimmu barrage.
The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) has approved a tariff of Rs5.9084 per unit for the combined-cycle LNG-fired power plant for 30 years. However, the tariff for the combined-cycle plant based on high-speed diesel has been fixed at Rs11.1659 per unit for 30 years.
Tariff on the simple-cycle mode of operation has been set at Rs9.3042 per unit. The simple-cycle tariff, on the basis of unit delivered with LNG as the fuel, will only be applicable at the time of availability of gas turbines for a maximum 349 days before the commercial operation date (COD) of the power complex for combined-cycle operations. LNG is an alternative fuel for furnace oil and high-speed diesel. At present, LNG-based power plants are generating cheaper electricity compared to power generation through furnace oil and diesel in the past.
In January this year, the cost of electricity based on re-gasified LNG stood at Rs5.07 per unit and its share was 14.66% in the total electricity generation. The cost of electricity generated through domestically produced natural gas was Rs5.07 per unit and its total share in electricity generation was 22.02%.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 26th, 2019.