NEPRA consults stakeholders on using Thar coal to bring down power tariffs
ISLAMABAD, June 30 (Gwadar Pro) -Pakistan is facing power shortages due to soaring prices of fossil fuels in international market. Therefore, the country is looking for cheaper alternatives, including the indigenous Thar coal, to lower its electricity generation costs.
In this connection, officials of National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) on Wednesday sat down with stakeholders including Chinese coal mining and power generation companies to find a way out of the current situation.
Representatives of Thar Coal Energy Board, Sindh Engro Coal Mining Co., Shanghai Electric’s subsidiaries Sino Sindh Resources Ltd. and Thar Coal Block-1 Power Generation Co., China Power Hub and Huaneng Shandong Ruyi (Pakistan) participated in the consulting session, NEPRA said. The participants discussed possibilities of utilising Thar coal and coal from other cheaper sources including Afghanistan to reduce power tariffs and eliminate electricity shortages.
Thar coal is being coined as the only solution to Pakistan’s energy demand. A joint venture of Engro Group and China Machinery Engineering Corp. is operating an open-pit coal mine (SECMC) and 660 MWs mine-mouth power plant (EPTL) in Thar Coal Block-II. Faisal Iqbal, GM technical at SECMC, recently said that their mining capacity will grow from 3.8 million tons per annum (mtpa) to 7.6 mtpa By the end of 2022. After expansion, it will provide coal to two 330MWs power plants in Thar, which are near completion, and the 660MWs Lucky Electric’s power plant being established in Karachi. "By the end of 2023, we plan to enhance our mining capacity up to 15 mtpa to serve other power plants as well." Faisal said. He said that Block-II of Thar have over 2 billion tons of certified coal reserves which can steer Pakistan out of the present crisis.
Shanghai Electric is also about to complete a 1,32- MW coal power plant, together with an open-pit coal mine of 7.8 mtpa capacity in Thar Coal Block-1, which will have a big impact on average electricity costs. Both projects in Block-1 and Block-II were launched under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) initiative.
An official told Gwadar Pro that possibility of utilising cheaper Afghani coal was also discussed. However, the stakeholders pointed out that Afghani coal required blending while most power plants had no such facilities. The meeting decided to put forward workable recommendations to the federal government in this regard.