The Ministry of Planning, Development & Special Initiatives on Tuesday approved a project to construct a 300 megawatt coal-fired power plant to cater to the energy needs of Gwadar. According to Gwadar Pro, the approval was granted in a follow-up meeting under the chairmanship of Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Jawwad Akhtar Khokhar, Advisor Maritime Affairs at the Planning Commission of Pakistan, told Gwadar Pro. The coal-fired power plant will cater to the base load of the port city, which has central importance in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) initiative. The plant will provide low-cost energy with no capacity charges, while the construction costs will be afforded by China, Khokhar said.
Physical works on the power plant will start within six months and the project will be completed in 30 months, the Advisor said. Khokhar added that the project will provide 100MWs of electricity to Gwadar from the national grid. “Therefore, we sought the exact demand for electricity for the city as well as the Gwadar Free Zone. China Overseas Ports Holding Co. (COPHC) in the meeting projected a demand of 800MWs in 5 years, after which the project was approved,” he said. Khokhar further said that the transmission line to connect Gwadar with the national grid will be a dual carriage line which will be able to evacuate excess energy from Gwadar to the national grid in the future.
He said that there were also other projects to generate energy from alternative sources including solar and wind in the pipeline for Gwadar. The Advisor said that the Gwadar coal-fired power plant will procure cost-effective coal either from the international market or Thar, or any other sources, to ensure the generation of low-cost energy. “For the purpose to transport coal from Thar via Port Qasim, we have asked COPHC to construct a coal jetty at the Gwadar Port. Also, we have asked the National Highways Authority and the Pakistan Railways to establish a coal transportation corridor between Gwadar Port and Karwat, the location of the coal-fired power plant, to ensure uninterrupted coal supply to the plant,” Khokhar said. The Advisor also informed that the Power Purchase Agreement for the power plant was currently being reviewed by the Private Power and Infrastructure Board.
Credit: Independent News Pakistan-INP