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December 30, 2016



Power transmission network attracts significant investment

LAHORE: The year 2016 has seen significant increase in the investment on the power transmission network, accelerating activity of connecting around 10,000MW of additional capacity with the estimated cost of over Rs400 billion coupled with initiating the process of introducing a new electricity line or power superhighway that can deliver vast amount of electricity over long distances.

During 2015/18, more than 50 new power generation projects are to be connected with the national grid in a bid to end power outages. Another milestone has been laying 660kV high voltage direct current (HVDC) for the first time in the country. The National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) is supervising the process of establishing its first HVDC transmission project for the evacuation of upcoming bulk power generation in the south of the country to mid country load centres.

The project is being developed by the government of Pakistan under the Transmission Policy 2015 for the construction of transmission network under private regime (Chinese company) on BOOT basis with commercial term of 25 years and later transfer the facility to NTDC. The 660kV HVDC Bipole Transmission Line’s length is approximately 870km, spanning from Matiari to Lahore.

The 660kV HVDC is a technological development of HVDC and considered a relatively new power transmission technology. It was first commercially tested in China in 2011. The new voltage level of 660kV HVDC has been dubbed as the second highest level for HVDC.

In line with the latest technological trends being adopted in the world and emerging domestic power generation scenario, the company has decided to make use of 660kV HVDC technology for bulk power transfer.

According to top management of NTDC, Pakistan needs to develop remote and bulk power transmission to optimise power allocation nationwide. The DC transmission line plays an important role in energy optimisation, which is indispensable, keeping in view consistent rapid growth of power demand in the years to come.

The laying of first of its kind 660kV HVDC will help address the challenge of uneven distribution of energy resources and load centres.

The new generation of power equipment will be employed in the mega transmission corridor, reliably linking Sindh and Punjab. It will help transfer thermal power from South to North and hydropower from North to South.

A senior official of NTDC said in addition to sufficiently enhance power generation capacity, NTDC assumes the responsibility to augment electricity transmission and distribution network in order to contribute in ending electricity crisis. The ageing transmission network has largely been overloaded and; thus, needs expansion.

With the induction of new power generation capacity, laying of new transmission lines are deemed essential for carrying the additional power to the major electricity distribution centres of the country. That is why gigantic work on setting up new transmission linkages are getting momentum, he added.

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) comprises around $36 billion investment in the energy sector. Although, the augmentation and addition in the transmission system is a continuous process for the enhancement in system capability as per the generation and supply demand, the recent initiatives have made whole process robust, the official said.

NTDC is already working on the augmentation of transformers and the associated infrastructure at various grid stations to increase the capacity of transmission system and to overcome the low voltage problems, he said. As per the schedule, the augmentation work to remove constraints of the transmission system across the country will be substantially completed in 2017.

During 2015/18, power projects being connected with the national grid included C3/C4 of Nuclear Power Plant, 18 wind power projects in Jhimpir and Gharo Cluster having capacity of 1,756MW, 1,000MW Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park at Bahawalpur, RLNG projects at Bhikki, Balloki and H B Shah, Tarbela 4th Extension, Patrind hydropower project, Sahwial coal-fired power plant and Bin Qasim power plant.

“We are very much upbeat that we are on track to complete work on augmentation and upgradation of transmission infrastructure to meet the system demand in 2018,” the official added.