ISLAMABAD: One of China’s top power entrepreneurs has said that China plans to enrol a number of Pakistani graduates in the new Hub coal-fired power plant project to expand human resource in the energy sector and make the power industry more sustainable.

Speaking at Hub during the groundbreaking ceremony of a coal-fired power plant, one of the “priority projects” under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, chairman of a leading Chinese power enterprise Wang Binghua said: “The local employees will be an important human resource for the country. If they leave the Hub plant, they will likely get another opportunity in other plants. It will make this industry in Pakistan more sustainable.”

Mr Wang’s power enterprise is constructing and investing in the $2 billion project along with Pakistan’s Hub Power Company Ltd. The plant is expected to be operational in August 2019 and will add about nine billion kWh of electricity to the national grid annually. It will create about 10,000 jobs for local people during its construction, vowed the entrepreneur.

Mr Wang said the Hub coal-fired plant would allow locals to enjoy cheaper electricity, adding that “about four million Pakistani families will benefit” from the project.

He said China’s interest in Pakistan was focused on sustainable development — not profit.

“We come to Pakistan not for the installation of our equipment and to gain profits. We pay more importance to improving the development of local high-end manufacturing industries so as to make the development sustainable. No country can rely on only one sort of energy,” he said, adding that coal, gas, solar plants along with wind and bio-energy should be utilised in order to guarantee a country’s energy security.

Mr Wang said his company was paying close attention to five areas for the Hub plant: safety, operation reliability, environment-friendly standard, economy and adjustability.

“I’m confident to say that we are providing an excellent and responsible service to Pakistan since all of the equipment to be used in the project is top class globally,” the Chinese entrepreneur said.

He emphasised that although the Hub project was a coal-fired power plant, emission curbing would be used in the complex to meet “local or even stricter legislation” on coal-fired power plants.

He explained that sensing devices installed on top of chimneys on the Hub plant would detect data regarding chemicals such as sulphur-dioxide or nitric-oxide in waste gas.

The data will then be sent to the local environmental department for evaluation.

He added that his company had plans to construct a cement factory nearby to utilise wasted dust produced by the power plant.

“I asked to open this plant to the Pakistani public after its completion so that the local people could experience for themselves the eco-friendliness of our coal-fired plant,” he said, expressing confidence in his company’s efforts to make it safe.

Talking about the project’s security in Balochistan, Mr Wang expressed his confidence in the Pakistani government, saying that it was very considerate regarding security issues and can provide the necessary security for power plants.

Published in Dawn, March 29th, 2017