LAHORE: The final test for the 660kV High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) Matiari-Lahore transmission line on full load of 4,000MW is being scheduled after Eidul Fitr as the current administrative situation does not allow the authorities concerned to do so in the ongoing period, Dawn learned on Thursday.

However, the official sources claim that the plants from where the 4,000MW power generation is supposed to be evacuated are complete and there are no generation-related issues on the part of department concerned.

“Last year, before commissioning the Commercial Operation Date (COD) of the project on September 1, last year, we had carried out various tests of the line. The last test we were supposed to conduct was to check the line on full load of 4,000MW (direct current). However, we couldn’t do so since the generation was not available at that time,” National Transmission & Despatch Company’s Deputy Managing Director (Planning & Engineering) Muhammad Ayub told Dawn. “However, before commissioning, we got the line tested by putting the load of 2,200MW on one side and the same load on the other side. This test was successful,” he added.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’s flagship HVDC line project had achieved its COD on September 1, 2021 as per the timeline agreed between the NTDC and Pak Matiari-Lahore Transmission Line Company (PMLTC). Prior to its COD, eight power tests on different voltage levels were performed successfully.

The NTDC official said the power generation in south for the Punjab load centres has crossed 5,200MW. These included 1,100MW (each) K-2 and K-3 nuclear power plants, 1,320MW Port Qasim, 660MW Lucky and a coal-fired plant in Thar. He said the power sector is currently passing through a very critical time in terms of shortage of gas, coal, Residual Fuel Oil (RFO) and other issues.

“In the current scenario, we are not in a position to test the line on full load of 4,000MW since we are worried how to meet the increasing demand. However, it will be much easier after Eid and we will able to conduct this test,” he said.

The NTDC official said the other issue is the distribution of the 4,000MW to the load centres in Punjab (north), as 500KV mega grid station namely north Lahore is currently under construction and it would take one year to complete.

“We can test the line on 4,000MW but are unable to distribute it since the grid station meant to do so is not complete. The approximately 2,000MW generation that we are getting through this line at the moment is being distributed by another grid station after being converted into alternate current (AC),” Mr Ayub maintained.

Published in Dawn, April 15th, 2022

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