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LAHORE: The government has decided to conduct another study of the second 660kV High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) transmission line from Port Qasim to Faisalabad to assess whether the project is needed or not.

“Actually the first study with load flow data for the Matiari-Lahore and Port Qasim-Faisalabad (formerly Matiari-Faisalabad) lines had been conducted around four years ago,” said an official from the ministry of energy while talking to Dawn on Wednesday.

“In this study, it had been recommended to first start laying Matiari-Lahore line and then initiate work on the second line from Port Qasim to Faisalabad.

“The government plans to repeat the exercise in order to reassess whether the country would require second HVDC line in future or not in view of future power generation projects, load flow etc”.

Like Matiari-Lahore, the Port Qasim-Faisalabad HVDC line is another project proposed under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The China Electric Power Equipment and Technology Company Limited (CET) — a company owned by the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) and presently engaged in laying the Matiari-Lahore 660kV HVDC line these days — may sponsor and execute the project in future.

While conducting the second study on the need of the second line, according to the official, the energy experts will assess how many power plants, whether in Sindh or Punjab, will be supplying electricity after being evacuated by the transmission lines from north to south or south to north.

“If the government sees that Punjab would already be getting sufficient electricity supply in future through the transmission network and there is no further requirement to bring power from south to north, the second line plan would be dropped or re-routed if the new study suggests need of supply from north to south.

Similarly, if the new exercise amid analysis of summer and winter demands recommends laying the second line in any case, the project would be launched finally, he said.

The decision to reassess the value of the second line has been made after five new power plants have been commissioned in Punjab, which were not part of the original study under which the second HVDC transmission line was envisaged.

With all this generation capacity in the north, the official explained, it could be that no further power needs to be transmitted from the south.

Published in Dawn, November 18th, 2017