The first unit of 1320 megawatt Port Qasim coal-fired power plant was inaugurated on Wednesday by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. The plant would provide the cheapest power to the national grid as it is an “environment-friendly” project with latest supercritical technology. The company has also launched eco-friendly initiative as per its social corporate responsibility (SCR) policy.
KARACHI: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Wednesday inaugurated the first unit of 1320 megawatt Port Qasim coal-fired power plant which would provide the cheapest power to the national grid.The plant is “environment-friendly” project with latest supercritical technology. The company has also launched eco-friendly initiative as per its social corporate responsibility (SCR) policy.
“Today, Pakistan has not only met its energy needs, it has also surplus power. When the PML-N government came into power in 2013, the country was facing load shedding up to 16 hours a day,” said the jubilant premier while addressing the Pakistani and Chinese officials and media personnel at the project site.
Asserting his party’s commitment to democracy, the prime minister said that Pakistan’s future lies in democracy and there were no choices to think of.
“We may have [our] differences… but our institutions have stood together to meet the challenges,” he said, adding that whether it was terrorism or any other major issue, the state institutions had jointly resolved all.
“We have a vibrant democracy, free media and freedom of expression. We may have dharnas (sit-ins); we may have differences; but the institutions of state have stood together to defeat terrorism and reject extremism,” he maintained. PM Abbasi also affirmed that elections would be held in August next year.
Being all-praise for Chinese President Xi Jinping, Prime Minister Abbasi said the US$ 2 billion 1320 MW coal-fired power project, initiated under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), reflected the vision of President Xi and former prime minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.
The 660 MW first unit of the project has been completed in 30 months – ahead of schedule – and the second unit will also be completed ahead of the schedule in February 2018—around two months ahead schedule, PM Abbasi assured.
Congratulating Power China Resources Limited and Al Mirqab Capital, the premier said the completion of the first unit of coal-fired power project was a significant milestone in the CPEC, adding that the CPEC creating job opportunities for the youth, along with boosting economic prosperity.
The prime minister said the government had also brought about diversity in energy fuel-mix and reduced the cost of production. Last month the National Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) had reduced the electricity price for consumers by Rs 2 per KW, he recalled.
The PM also mentioned various power projects, including coal-fired, gas-fired and hydel-based power plants, which had added thousands of MWs to the national grid over the last four.
The prime minister said the main objective and purpose of the development projects was to achieve high economic growth, generate job opportunities and prosperity of Pakistan.
Powerchina Resources Limited Chairman Sheng Yuming said the Port Qasim plant had been completed ahead of schedule with an investment over $2.4 billion jointly by Powerchina and Almaqrib of Qatar. “The power plant has been connected to the national grid in a record time,” he said.
He said over 4000 Pakistani engineer and workers had been employed in the project while indirect jobs had also been created.
Joyous over the operational stage of the landmark CPEC project, Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing said it was heartening to note that the CPEC entered into an operational phase, adding most of early harvest projects were reaching completion.
Vouching for Pakistani government’s commitment to development, the ambassador said, “During the last week after assuming charge, I have accompanied the prime minister at the inauguration of two major projects Gwadar Eastbay and Port Qasim Plant. Such commitment reflected the devotion of those involved with the CPEC and the support of Pakistan and Chinese governments.”
He also praised involvement of foreign investments in the project, saying that these investments are a proof of CEPC’s policy of connectivity and development.
Speaking on the occasion, Federal Minister for Power Awais Khan Leghari said the ministry would keep working to take on challenges like constraints in distribution of power, overbilling, line losses and transparency.
He said federal and provincial governments would soon legislate for National Electricity Plan who would penalise companies for inefficiency in distribution and those involved in power theft would have to face imprisonment up to three years.
Ensuring transparency and streamlining of billing system, he claimed that the premier would inaugurate Net Metering System soon.