LAHORE: The federal government plans to launch another high-voltage power line — from Thar to Lahore — to transmit more than 4,000 megawatts of electricity.
The high voltage direct current (HVDC) line of 660 kilovolts will transmit power from future projects in Sindh to load demand centres in Punjab.
The project, a part of the next five years’ development plan for the energy sector, may also be included in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in the future, according to official sources in the Ministry of Water and Power.
The government has already included two similar projects — Matiari (Hyderabad)-Lahore and Port Qasim (Karachi)-Faisalabad in the CPEC.
Preparatory work such as feasibility study, cost estimation and preliminary survey for the $2 billion Matiari-Lahore 660kV HVDC transmission line has already been completed, whereas a detailed survey and land acquisition is under way.
Preparatory work for the Port Qasim-Faisalabad (formerly called Matiari-Faisalabad HVDC line) would begin next year, a senior official of the Ministry of Water and Power told Dawn on Thursday.
As for the Thar-Lahore line, preliminary tasks before the start of civil work would begin after 2020 as the project’s feasibility study was under way, the official said requesting anonymity.
China Electric Power Equipment and Technology Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of State Grid Corporation of China which is responsible for executing the first two transmission lines, is likely to implement the Thar-Lahore project as well.
“The line’s length is expected to be over 900 kilometres and it will pass through various rural areas of Sindh and Punjab,” the official said.
“The total cost of the project has been estimated at $1.6bn. However, it will exceed $2bn when it is ready for execution — right from completion of feasibility study, initial and detailed route surveys and land acquisition to several civil and electrical works, etc,” the official added
The PC-I of the project would be prepared soon after completion of the feasibility study. PC-I is a project document which covers almost all aspects of the project.
The National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) would get the project executed on a ‘build, operate and transfer’ basis through the contractor under the plan.
The government of Pakistan would be responsible for buying land for the project.
The Port Qasim-Faisalabad line would help the NTDC to evacuate 2,640MW of electricity, whereas the Thar-Matiari line would transmit power from two nuclear projects of 1,100MW each.
For executing the Matiari-Lahore line, the government has already handed over two chunks of the land for building and installing two convertor stations (one in Matiari for converting alternate current (AC) to direct current (DC) and another near Lahore for conversion of DC to AC) to the Chinese company.
The land acquisition for installing towers and laying transmission line was also under way for this project, the official said. A detailed survey to change its route near Bahawalpur has also been launched after the military sought to keep the project 30 kilometres away from its cantonment and Pakistan-India border areas, the official added.
Published in Dawn, May 5th, 2017