Lahore – Ground work on Pakistan’s first private sector high-voltage direct current transmission line will commence from the next month under the agreements signed on Wednesday to achieve the project’s financial close.
The 660 kilovolt Matiari-Lahore Transmission Line project is part of China Pakistan Economic Corridor. It will have a capacity to transmit more than 4,000 megawatts of coal-based electricity from projects in Sindh to Punjab.
National Transmission and Despatch Company, Pak Matiari Lahore Transmission Line Company and Industrial Construction Bank of China signed the transmission service, operation and maintenance and land lease and right of way agreements.
National Transmission and Despatch Company Managing Director Zafar Abbas and Pak Matiari Lahore Transmission Line Company Chief Executive Officer Wang Bo signed the agreements on behalf of their organisations. The agreements were signed in the presence of Minister for Energy (Power Division) Omer Ayub Khan and Secretary Energy Irfan Ali.
The agreements were required for the project’s financial close. The project has now achieved its financial close and the practical ground work on the project would start from December 1.
The projects, which will be connected with Matiari switching stations for power transmission through the high-voltage direct current transmission line, include Engro Thar Unit I and II (660 megawatts), 1,320MWs of Thar Coal Block-1 (Shangai), 1,320MWs of Port Qasim and 1,320MWs of Hub Power.
The project has a completion time of 27 months and commercial operation date has been fixed at March 1, 2021 under the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority’s tariff determination.
High-voltage direct current transmission line was planned under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects for which cooperation agreement was signed in 2015 between National Transmission and Despatch Company and State Grid Corporation of China. Chinese government pledged $60 billion for infrastructure developments in Pakistan and most of the projects under the corridor are related to energy sector.
The 660 kilovolt Matiari-Lahore Transmission Line project, the flagship project under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, is first of its kind in the country and also the first being executed under government of Pakistan’s Transmission Policy 2015 on build, own, operate and transfer basis for 25 years.
The choice of high voltage direct current technology is based on the recommendations of international consultants, as it is cost effective for bulk power transfer and has low line losses compared to normal heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. Further the requirement of right of way for high-voltage, direct current lines is also much less than heating, ventilation and air conditioning lines.