ISLAMABAD: The commercial production of 660MW of electricity from Thar coal-fired power generation plant will start by December 2017, Minister of State for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali said on Monday.

Two basic documents of the first power plant fuelled by Thar coal — Implementation Agreement (IA) and Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) of 660MW — have been signed by the Private Power and Infrastructure Project (PPIB), National Transmission & Dispatch Company (NTDC) Limited and M/s Engro Powergen Limited (EPGL).

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The IA was signed by Shah Jahan Mirza, Managing Director of the PPIB, and Shamsuddin A. Shaikh, CEO of EPGL. The PPA was signed by Engineer Mohammad Arshad Chaudhry, MD of NTDC, and Shamsuddin A. Shaikh, CEO of EPGL.

Earlier, it was estimated that power generation would start by mid 2018.

As per the signed documents, Engro Powergen would develop a project of 660MW utilising indigenous Thar lignite coal to be supplied by the Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company which is the lease holder of Thar Block-II.

It will be the first project in the country in which Thar coal will be utilised for power generation. Its development will reduce the country’s dependence on the costly oil-based power generation, thus saving millions in foreign exchange.

Abid Sher Ali said the abundant coal resources in the country were estimated at around 186 billion tons out of which 175bn tons were found in Thar alone. He said the government was committed to utilising these resources for power generation.

Talking to journalists on the occasion, he said the Thar Coal would become energy capital of Pakistan in next few years. It is priority of the government to develop Thar coal and utilise it on the commercial basis.

Answering a question, the minister said that due to effective measures taken by the government, the duration of loadshedding had come down.

He said concrete steps were being taken to reduce the transmission and distribution losses. Recovery had been improved and the issue of circular debt was being resolved, he added.

Published in Dawn, May 5th, 2015

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