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March 20, 2019

Engro Powergen connects 330MW coal power plant to grid


March 20, 2019

KARACHI: Engro Powergen Thar (EPTL) has connected the country’s first 330 megawatts of power station run on Thar coal to the grid, fulfilling a dream of harnessing the indigenous energy source, the company said on Tuesday.

EPTL tested and energised the first unit of 330MW of the combined 660MW power plant, located in Thar Block II.

“The successful synchronisation happened amidst presence of senior officials of the company and from China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) – the EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contractor of the project,” EPTL, the majority owned company of Engro Energy Limited, said in a statement. Other sponsors of EPTL include HBL, Liberty and China Machinery Engineering Corporation.

The power station’s two 330MW units will burn domestic lignite, a cheap energy source, from the Tharparkar district, around 390 kilometres east of the city.

“We are running the plant on 100 percent local coal, thus generating cheap and abundant power in this country,” Ahsan Zafar Syed, EPTL’s chief executive, told Reuters by telephone.

Thar Desert is estimated to hold the world’s 7th largest coal reserves with 175 billion tons of lignite coal. EPTL is one of the early harvest projects of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor. The company commenced the construction of the power plant after the financial close of the project in April 2016. The project has been constructed in a record time of under 3 years – as per schedule and projected costs.

Syed said Engro has technically demonstrated proof of the concept that Thar coal is suited to produce indigenous energy, “which can prove to be economical in the long-run and reduce dependence on imported fuel mix”.

“Engro will forge ahead with synchronisation of the second unit of the 660MW power plant in April 2019 and achieve the COD (commercial operation date) of both the mining and the power project, as per our commitment, in June 2019,” he said in the statement.

EPTL power plant will utilise 3.8 million tons per annum of coal supplied by Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC). The mining and power projects are expected to bring average foreign exchange savings of up to $1.6 billion per annum.

Fazal Rizvi, chief executive officer of SECMC said the company has already commenced the delivery of coal to the EPTL plant. “We will now further optimise the mine to deliver on our promise of providing economical, indigenous energy to Pakistan,” Rizvi added. The 660 MW power plant of EPTL will use circulating fluidised bed technology to burn coal. The plant will evacuate 660MW of electricity through a 282-kilometre long 500 kilovolts double circuit quad-bundle transmission line from EPTL plant to Matiari in Sindh. The power plant complies with all local environmental laws and has adopted various international compliance standards, EPTL added.

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