Affordable power generation top priority of govt: Khawaja Asif

ISLAMABAD, Oct 4 (APP): Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif Tuesday said that government had decided to replace imported fuels with indigenous resources like hydro and Thar coal to make electricity affordable.

While presiding over 107th meeting of Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB) here, Khawaja Asif said the government was focused on arranging additional megawatts
to bridge the demand-supply gap, says a press release.

He said in the present scenario, coal, hydro and R-LNG were key resources for cutting the power generation cost and to make it affordable to the masses.

During the meeting, the Private Power and Infrastructure Board approved issuance of Letter of Interest to two hydropower projects which were presented before the board after evaluation of proposals by the independent consultant.

The letters include 350 MW Athmuqam hydropower project at Neelum River, District Neelum, AJ&K, to the consortium led by Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co Ltd and 58 MW Turtonas-Uzghor Hydropower Project at Golen Gol River, District Chitral to the consortium of Sinohydro Corporation
Limited, China and Sachal Engineering Works Private Limited Pakistan.

To tap hydropower potential in the country, the board also approved solicitation of proposals through local and international media for another two hydropower projects in the private sector, which are 197 MW Kalam-Asrit and 101
MW Gabral-Kalam located in district Swat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa under the Power Generation Policy 2015.

The decision was taken eyeing improved law and order situation in the Swat Valley.

In order to utilize coal deposits at Thar for power generation, the board appreciated and allowed conversion of 660 MW Lucky and 350 MW Siddique Sons Power from imported coal to Thar coal.

This will not only save huge foreign exchange from spending on imported coal but will provide affordable power to the masses.

Managing Director PPIB Shah Jahan Mirza briefed the board on current status of various ongoing power generation projects being handled by PPIB with particular emphasis
on projects under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The MD briefed the board that investors are being facilitated to meet their commercial operation dates by 2017-2018. The board endorsed signing of Implementation Agreement and Supplemental Agreement for 720 MW Karot Hydropower Project.

R-LNG based power generation projects were also discussed in the meeting with particular focus on 1180 MW project being processed at Bhikki by Quaid-e-Azam Thermal Power Private Limited (QATPL).

The board also endorsed signing of Implementation Agreement executed by the PPIB with QATPL.

The minister appreciated the contribution of private sector in
development of Pakistan’s power sector and reiterated that current government is focused on tackling electricity crisis with affordable means to provide real benefit to the nation.

In current situation, role of CPEC is vital as thousands of megawatts will be available by 2018 which will bring an end to long electricity crisis in the country.

Currently PPIB is facilitating nine projects of over 9000 MW under the fate-changer CPEC initiative.