Pakistani Minister for Energy Khurram Dastgir Khan on Tuesday afternoon said that another 1,320 Megawatt (MW) Shanghi Electric Thar Coal Power Project under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would start operation before next summer which would help double electricity generation to 2,640 MW.
Speaking at a news conference here, Khan maintained that Thar coal reserves were a blessing for the entire country. He said as per the initial estimate, the reserves stood 175 billion metric tons. Thar coal reserves spread an area of over 100 square kilometers and had been divided into 13 blocks, he added.
The minister informed that the total electricity generation from local Thar coal would jump to 1,320 MW with addition of 330 MW by ThalNova Power Thar Ltd’s Plant in December.
Khan underlined that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, the other day, had formally inaugurated the 330 MW HUBCO Thar Coal Power Plant which increased the electricity generation to 990 MW from local Thar coal.
He underscored that people had started getting dividends of projects launched by then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in 2014. “As many as 660 MW electricity had already been supplied to the National grid since 2019 through local Thar coal,” he added.
The minister remarked that currently out of total 13 blocks, only two blocks were opened. “Presently, three power plants with accumulative capacity of 990 MW had been operationalized on local Thar coal,” he elaborated.
Khan noted that coal price at international market had surged to $ 400 per ton, while Thar coal would be available at only $ 40 per ton. Thar coal based power plants would also help reduce the cost of electricity, he added.
He said Thar coal power plant project was a best example of public private partnership in the country. Special attention was also being paid that the coal-based power projects have no effects on the environment, he added.
Khan emphasized that as per technical study, 20 per cent Thar Coal could also be used in already set up coal power plants including Sahiwal and Port Qasim. The coal could also be used for getting diesel besides in cement and fertilizers industries, he stated.
He said the Thar Coal would fulfill the energy requirements of the country. To a question, he said transmission line had already been laid to evacuate 2,640 MW electricity from Thar coal based power projects. However, work was being carried out to lay new transmission line for evacuation of power from future projects, he added.
To another question, the minister replied that cost of electricity had decreased after the shutting down of all expensive power plants with decline of electricity demand and change in weather. Relief was being passed on the consumers and only 22 paisa per unit fuel cost adjustment was charged in the current month billing as compared to Rs 9.89 per unit in June.
He predicted that the average cost of electricity would also decrease with the increase of share of electricity from Thar coal blocks.