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Coal-fired power generation urged for energy mix optimisation

By Our Correspondent
August 21, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Experts have called for coal-fired power generation to optimise the energy mix for the resolution of the electricity crisis in the country.

“The fundamental solution to optimising the country’s energy mix is to expand coal-fired power stations. Since coal has three key elements of sustainable energy, including easy access, low cost and undisturbed power generation, coal-fired power stations are best suited to meet the rapidly increasing basic electricity demand in Pakistan,” the chief executive of Hub Power Company Limited Kamran Kamal said.

At a function here Saturday, he said coal accounted for less than 10 per cent of the country’s power generation but that was far below the world average, while the neighbouring country India generated around 60 per cent of its energy from coal-fired plants.

“In view of our current development stage, vigorously developing modern new coal-fired power stations are significant for addressing energy needs and promoting economic development. Balochistan is rich in solar, wind, geothermal and other clean energy, with the natural advantage of new energy power generation,” he said.

Speaker Kamran K.R. said the cost of imported coal was significantly lower than that of imported heavy oil, which we used in large quantities to fuel electricity generation. He said fuel costs for heavy oil power generation generally hovered around 20 cents per kilowatt-hour of electricity.

“In addition to imported coal, the development of new coal power is accompanied by the development and utilisation of domestic coal resources. The 175b tons of proven reserves of the Thar coal field are enough to fuel 10,000 MW of coal-fired power stations. Its biggest advantage over imported coal is its low price and stable supply, which can help reduce the debt burden of the power sector and strengthen energy self-sufficiency,” he said.

Other speakers contended that after the completion of the coal power integration project in 2019, other coal-fired power plant projects using coal produced in Thar as fuel were also underway. They said, “At the end of 2019, the implementation agreement for a 1,320MW coal-fired power station project under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor was officially signed and its commercial operation would save the government $488 million in fuel costs a year”.

The experts said the CPEC project’s new coal power plants had been green and clean to the extent of extensive application of advanced technologies. They said those energy projects had reduced power shortages but the country continued suffering from high power generation costs, aggravated circular debt and power production capacity issues.

The experts said coal-fired power stations should account for a larger share of the country’s energy mix to better meet demand. They said high standards and new technologies brought about by the CPEC project would continue to accompany the high-quality development of coal-fired power generation.