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October 2, 2018

Thar coal-based 660MW plant achieves 90pc completion


October 2, 2018

KARACHI: The first ever 660MW lignite coal power plant in Thar has achieved 90 percent completion in its construction phase, at least five months ahead of schedule, and will add power to the national grid by December 2018, an official said on Monday.

Syed Murtaza Azhar Rizvi, director mining and operation, Engro Energy Limited (EEL) said, “On August 1, 2018, EPTL made history by successfully connecting the power plant with the national grid to receive back-feed power supply for plant start up.”

The next part of this dream would be achieved by December 2018, when the first electron from the Thar Coal would be added to the national grid. “The COD is expected to be achieved by May/June 2019,” he added.

He said with the rising population and an expanding economy, Pakistan’s energy needs have outpaced its national energy supply. Exacerbating the demand-supply gap was Pakistan’s unsustainable power generation fuel mix, which contained a high share of oil-based power generation up to 32 percent, resulting in high cost of electricity production.

“Moreover, there is a heavy reliance on imported fuels which result in constant depletion of foreign exchange and insufficient control over the fuels supply chain,” Rizvi said. This inappropriate fuel mix leads to energy losses at each level of the value chain and inadequate recoveries lead to power outages, unaffordable electricity and circular debt.

The official added that SECMC was created with the vision “to develop a technically and commercially viable coal mining project in Thar Block - II to bring energy security to Pakistan”. The total reserves of block II were sufficient to support 5,000MW of energy for 50 years; enough to pull the country out of the energy crisis.

The EEL director mining and operation said the Thar coal mining project was being undertaken by SECMC - a joint venture agreement (JVA) between Sindh government, EEL, and its partners namely; Thal Limited (House of Habib), Habib Bank Limited (HBL), Hub Power Company (HUBCO), and China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC).

Houlinhe Open Pit Coal Mine, subsidiary of SPI (State Power International) Mengdong (SPIM), formerly CPIM, has joined the SECMC board as strategic investor with preference shares’ subscription.

He further said that Thar was facing severe water shortage on one hand, while on the other hand there was over 9 billion cubic feet water under the Thar Desert which was less saline than sea water and could be used for fish farming and agriculture. The existence of water was revealed during excavation. Experts have cleared this saline water for limited use. Company has also installed 12 RO plants to make the saline water worthy of use.

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