The 1,320 megawatts Thar Coal Block-1 (TCB-1) power plant has achieved an overall 85% work progress and the 660MWs unit-1 is close to entering commissioning, a senior official of TCB-1 told Gwadar Pro on Monday.
TCB-1 is the largest indigenous coal-based power plant project in Thar Block-1 under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) initiative. The mine-mouth plant will utilise the coal extracted by Sino-Sindh Resources Ltd. (SSRL). TCB-1 and SSRL are owned by Shanghai Electric, which has spent around US$3 billion to realise Pakistan’s dream of cheaper electricity from Thar coal reserves in Sindh province.
The official said that work was underway at a fast pace to connect the power plant to the national grid through Matiari-Lahore High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) transmission line. “We are in close coordination with the National Transmission and Dispatch Co. Ltd. to ensure early back energisation of unit-1 of the power plant,” he said.
Back energisation is among the first steps in commissioning a power plant, in which the plant is energised in reverse order through the national grid for performing various tests on the power plant and synchronising it with the national grid.
The back energisation will take three to four months after which unit-1 will be ready for commercial operations, the official said. The company is striving to start commercial operations by the end of the current year. Both units are expected to start electricity production early next year, he said.
TCB-1 will serve as many as 4 million households in Pakistan with an uninterrupted power supply. Shanghai Electric has so far employed 7,000 Pakistani workers in its Thar projects.
The 4,000MWs Matiari-Lahore is the first-ever HVDC transmission line completed under CPEC at $2.1 billion to evacuate electricity from CPEC power projects in Sindh province to load centres in Punjab province.