BEIJING: China confirmed that most of the early harvest energy projects being built under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) framework would be completed before 2019 and help ease the electricity shortage in Pakistan.
Hua Chunying, the spokesperson of the Chinese foreign ministry, said this while replying to questions regarding the inauguration of the first unit of the Sahiwal Coal Power Plant, during a press briefing on Wednesday.
“It is estimated that most of the power projects will be completed preceding the year 2019 and ease the lack of energy in Pakistan which will benefit the people,” she said.
She added that the power plant — the biggest electricity power station in the area which is expected to generate over 90 billion kilowatts of power annually — was an important project under the CPEC framework.
With a total capacity of 1,320 megawatts (MW), the project has two coal-based power plants with the capacity of 660MW each. This is one of the early harvest projects of CPEC, a flagship project of One Belt-One Road Initiative (OBOR).
The spokesperson explained that at present, 17 priority energy projects were being completed under CPEC, including the Sahiwal project.
While commenting on the inauguration of the plant by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, she said that Mr Sharif had applauded the efficiency of the building of the project.
Ms Chunying expressed confidence that these projects would decrease the country’s power and energy problems. “CPEC is a real game changer for the people who live along the route,” she said, adding that they had seen benefits of CPEC projects and the OBOR initiative.
The plant was reportedly completed six months ahead of schedule after Prime Minister Sharif launched work here in May 2014. It was connected to the national grid on May 12 this year.
It was constructed by a joint consortium of China’s state-owned Huaneng Shandong and the Shandong Ruyi Science and Technology Group. The power plant is expected to start generating 1,320MW from the first week of June this year.
Built as a latest state of the art technology supercritical coal-fired power project, the plant is environmentally compliant with high thermal efficiency to ensure low fuel consumption.
Published in Dawn, June 1st, 2017