ISLAMABAD: The Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB) on Thursday issued a Letter of Interest (LoI) to Engro Powergen Limited (EPGL) for the development of the 660-megawatt (MW) Thar Coal Power Project.
Federal Minister for Water and Power and other senior officials of PPIB and Ministry of Water and Power attended the ceremony. The document was signed by PPIB Managing Director Shah Jahan Mirza and EPGL CEO Shamsuddin Shaikh.
PPIB Board, in its recent meetings, accorded the approval under the “Guidelines for setting up of Private Power Projects under Short Term Capacity Addition Initiative-August 2010” and approved issuance of LoI to the sponsors upon fulfillment of all requirements as per the guidelines.
EPGL would develop the project of 660MW at a cost of $960 million by utilising indigenous Thar lignite coal to be supplied by Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company which is the lease holder of Thar Block-II.
This is the first pilot project to utilise Thar coal for power generation and its development will reduce Pakistan’s dependence on costly oil based power generation thus saving millions of dollars of foreign exchange. It is expected that the project will start its commercial operation by December 2017.
Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif said the abundant coal resource largely remain unexploited. Till date these are estimated at around 186 billion tons out of which 175 billion are found in Thar alone. “However, our government is committed to utilising these resources for power generation,” said Asif.
He said that Thar Coal will become the energy capital of Pakistan in the next few years. “It is the national priority of the government to develop Thar coal and utilise it on a commercial basis.”
To a question, the Minister said that due to effective measures taken by the present government, the duration of load shedding has come down.
He added that concrete steps are being taken to reduce transmission and distribution losses.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 21st, 2014.