Hasilpur: Hardware installation work at the Matiari-Lahore transmission line is in final stage in Bahawalpur district. The $1.68bn project is the first HVDC project in the country and the second in the world.—Dawn
Hasilpur: Hardware installation work at the Matiari-Lahore transmission line is in final stage in Bahawalpur district. The $1.68bn project is the first HVDC project in the country and the second in the world.—Dawn

LAHORE: Pakistan’s first and mega High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) project — Matiari-Lahore transmission line — has almost been completed as engineers finished the entire line stringing work besides energising the converter station near Lahore.

The project, launched under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, has now officially entered the testing and commissioning phase that is likely to complete by December this year, Dawn has learnt.

“We have completed all major works (civil, electrical, mechanical, erection etc) of the 886km transmission line. After completion, the project has officially entered a new stage of energised DC (direct current) commissioning,” Mr. Wang Bo, Deputy CEO of Pak Matiari-Lahore Transmission Company, which is responsible for the construction and operation of the project, told Dawn.

“Within a week of the completion of the transmission line, we have also completed the commissioning of the Lahore Converter Station/DC system (energising amid achieving of 660kV voltages) built near Lahore, marking the beginning of a new era of DC transmission in Pakistan’s power industry. This is a remarkable achievement,” he added.

“Moreover, the converter station built at Matiari is set to be energised on November 1.”

The $1.68 billion project is the first HVDC project in the country and the second in the entire world. Comparing it with all the power transmission projects in the country, it has the highest voltage level as it is also the most technically sophisticated and most difficult one in terms of construction.

The work on the line was officially launched in December, 2018 across Sindh and Punjab. The transmission line was divided into eight lots, crossing desert, farmland, rivers, military area, national park, wildlife reserves gas pipelines, railways, highways, and several 500kV, 220kV, 132kV transmission lines on the way.

The project will evacuate 4,000MW power from plants in south to urban load centres in Punjab. The power generation projects from where the Matiari-Lahore HVDC line will evacuate power included 1,320MW Shanghai Electric, 660MW Thar Engro, 2200MW K-II and K-III and 1,320MW Port Qasim plants.

“The whole line has total 2,362 tower foundations, weighing more than 71,000 tonnes and consisting 220,000 cubic meters concrete and 17,000 tonnes of steel bars. For the first time in Pakistan, the four-split 1,250 square millimeter large-section conductor was used. The total quantity of conductor is about 28,000 tonnes. The workload has set a new record in the field of power transmission in Pakistan,” Mr Bo explained.

“They constantly kept optimising the construction methodology and adjusting the construction plan, making the best of utilising local resources, actively adopting innovative construction methods such as using drones for stringing, stringing cross live line with isolation nets etc. We managed to achieve the record high of complete 209km of UHV (ultra high voltage) transmission line in one month,” he maintained.

Published in Dawn, October 30th, 2020