Power production: PPIB approves 1,400MW Thar coal-based project

Published: June 17, 2015
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This is the second Thar coal-based independent power plant
approved by the PPIB, which will be established by the Shanghai Electric Group
Company of China. PHOTO: REUTERS

This is the second Thar coal-based independent power plant approved by the PPIB, which will be established by the Shanghai Electric Group Company of China. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: 

In a bid to utilise the country’s vast coal resources and kick-start projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB) on Tuesday approved a 1,400-megawatt power generation project (four units of 350MW each) to be set up in Thar.

This is the second Thar coal-based independent power plant approved by the PPIB, which will be established by the Shanghai Electric Group Company of China. The first was a 660MW Engro power project.

The exploitation of Thar coal resources is a major step aimed at upgrading the area and developing a massive generation capacity using cheaper local coal that will help eliminate the energy crisis.

This is one of the projects given top priority and included in the CPEC, which will start power generation in 2017-18. The approval was granted in the 101st board meeting of the PPIB chaired by Federal Minister of Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif.

The board also approved the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the PPIB, China Three Gorges Corporation and Silk Road Fund for the development of private hydroelectric power projects in Pakistan.

Silk Road Fund is a development fund recently created by the government of China, with main focus on infrastructure and energy development as well as industrial and road initiatives.

China Three Gorges Corporation is already developing three hydropower projects in Pakistan – 720MW Karot, 1,100MW Kohala and 590MW Mahl on Jhelum River – and has expressed interest in undertaking more projects.

To facilitate the projects initiated by Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, the PPIB granted a standardised tripartite Letter of Support.

Apart from this, the PPIB issued a Letter of Support to a 150MW coal-based power project in Arifwala, 1,200MW coal-fired projects in Sahiwal, 1,320MW imported coal-fired projects at Port Qasim and 1,320MW imported coal-based projects in Hub, Balochistan.

The PPIB managing director briefed the meeting on ongoing coal and hydroelectric power generation projects in the private sector, particularly the projects being processed under the CPEC.

The minister expressed optimism about the CPEC, terming it a ‘game changer’ that would result in economic development of Pakistan. He asked the PPIB to step up work on the projects to ensure their timely completion.

Emphasising the importance of cheap electricity, the minister directed the PPIB to facilitate investors. “Progress on all the projects – both new and ongoing – should be reviewed regularly so that they may not face any difficulty.”

Published in The Express Tribune, June 17th,  2015.

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Reader Comments (4)

  • unbelievable
    Jun 17, 2015 - 2:42AM

    Developing mine mouth power plants in Thar is one of the few options available for Thar Coal – whether it makes any economic sense is another matter. How much for the mine? How much for the power plant? How much for the transmission lines to connect to the grid? How much is the govt going to pay for the power? How are the customer rates going to be impacted?
    .
    This appears to be a std “planted” article by either govt or one of the involved parties … long on “upside” with zero specifics.Recommend

  • KK Kool
    Jun 17, 2015 - 2:46AM

    It is irony that on one hand we are establishing local coal power projects and at the same time we are also installing power projects on imported coal. Despite everyone knows that local coal is sufficient for generations to come. But our educated political leaders have the vision to foresee the requirement of imported coal power projects.Recommend

  • Jun 17, 2015 - 4:47AM

    China can finish the power plant construction in THREE years but Pakistan Politics will not finish it in TWENTY years.Recommend

  • unbelievable.
    Jun 18, 2015 - 8:40PM

    @KK Kool:

    It is irony that on one hand we are
    establishing local coal power projects
    and at the same time we are also
    installing power projects on imported
    coal. Despite everyone knows that
    local coal is sufficient for
    generations to come. But our educated
    political leaders have the vision to
    foresee the requirement of imported
    coal power projects.

    While Thar Coal deposits are immense most of it is located under deep layer of underground water making it unsuitable/uneconomic to mine using conventional mining techniques. In order to access that coal Pakistan is currently experimenting with Coal Gasification – a technique which seeks to burn the coal in place to generate energy.
    .
    The Thar coal that is accessible to std mining techniques has low BTU content .. it’s best suited for mine mouth power plants because the energy used to transport it long distances would exceed the BTU content of the coal. In short … Thar Coal isn’t a good candidate for supplying most of Pakistan’s planned coal fired power plants.Recommend

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