Dubai: Pakistan’s first coal power plant has been opened on Wednesday in Tharparkar district in Sindh province.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), the party which governs the Sindh Province, inaugurated the plan. Tharparkar commonly referred as Thar is the most backward district in Sindh with lowest Human Development Index in the province.
Addressing the opening ceremony, Bilawal termed the Thar Coal Power Plant as “pride for all of Pakistan” and said the entire country would benefit from the electricity generated by the plant.
The coal plant has the capacity to produce 660 megawatts of electricity in the country which is facing acute power shortage – an average of 3000 megawatt. Bilawal said Thar Coal Power Plant was the country’s most successful project and that his mother, the late Benazir Bhutto, had dreamt of providing electricity to Pakistan with Thar’s coal.
“This is Pakistan’s most successful project. This is naya (new) Thar,” he said.
“This is what is called good governance. This is what you call a mega project. Others only talked. PPP actually delivered,” he said.
The power plant has the capacity to generate 660 megawatts (MW) of electricity. It consists of two power generation units of 330MW each, according to Pakistani media reports.
The project was completed under a public-private partnership in 10 years’ time. It is part of a portfolio of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects.
The PPP government in Sindh has provided a sovereign guarantee of $700 million for the project.
He announced that the Sindh government will provide free electricity to the residents of Islamkot and Thar once the project starts generating electricity.
Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and PPP leaders as well as Sindh cabinet members were in attendance at the inauguration ceremony.
Bilawal also shared images of the power plant on his twitter handle. “I just inaugurated Thar coal power plant. The highest man made structure in Pakistan,” Bilawal tweeted.
The 660MW power plant is part of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which forms part of the Belt and Road Initiative to link China with Europe. It is being developed by Engro Powergen Thar (EPTL), a joint venture of Engro Powergen (EPL), China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC), Habib Bank, and Liberty Mills.
Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) will supply approximately 3.8 million tonnes of coal per annum for the power plant from a new opencast mine.