ISLAMABAD: The government on Tuesday cleared four projects of about 1,420 megawatts of power generation capacity based on indigenous fuels.
At the conclusion of a meeting of the board of directors of the Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB), Minister for Power Khawaja Mohammad Asif said the government has decided to replace imported fuels with indigenous resources like hydro and Thar coal to ensure power supply at affordable rates.
An official statement said the board approved issuance of letter of interest (LoI) to two hydropower projects based on evaluation of their proposals by the independent consultants. These included 350MW Athmuqam Hydropower Project at Neelum River, in Azad Kashmir to a consortium led by Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co Ltd. The board also decided to issue LOI for 58MW Turtonas-Uzghor Hydropower Project at Golen Gol River, District Chitral to the consortium of Sinohydro Corporation Ltd of China and Sachal Engineering Works.
The board also approved solicitation of proposals through local and international media for another two hydropower projects in the private sector. These include the 197MW Kalam-Asrit and 101MW Gabral-Kalam located in district Swat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa under the Power Generation Policy 2015. The decision was taken eyeing improved law and order situation in the Swat Valley.
In order to utilise Coal deposits at Thar for power generation, the Board also allowed conversion of 660MW Lucky and 350MW Siddiquesons Power from imported coal to Thar coal.
The two projects were originally planned on imported coal but were facing uncertainty when the government decided a few months back to put a ban on further power generation based on imported fuels as it realised projects already committed on imported on fuels were going beyond absorption capacity.
The board noted that the conversion of two plants from imported to local fuel would not only save huge foreign exchange from spending on imported coal but will provide affordable power to the masses.
The statement said the board was also briefed on current status of various ongoing power generation projects being handled by PPIB under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The PPIB management told the board that CPEC investors were being facilitated to meet their commercial operation dates by 2017-2018.
The Board also endorsed signing last week of Implementation Agreement and Supplemental Agreement to 720MW Karot Hydropower Project
RLNG based power generation projects were also discussed in the meeting with particular focus on 1180MW project being processed at Bhikki by Quaid-e-Azam Thermal Power Private Limited (QATPL). The Board also endorsed signing of Implementation Agreement executed by the PPIB with QATPL.
The minister appreciated the contribution of private sector in development of power sector and reiterated that current government was focused on tackling electricity crisis with affordable means to provide real benefit to the nation.
In current situation, role of CPEC was vital as thousands of megawatts will be available by 2018 which will bring an end to long lasting electricity crisis in the country as the PPIB was currently facilitating nine projects of over 9000MW projects under the CPEC initiative.
Published in Dawn October 5th, 2016