Islamabad-Government closes coal power project due to high fuel costs.
The government recently informed the coal power project’s sponsor, China Communications Construction Group (CCCG), of its choice. The plant’s construction was expected to cost the corporation $542 million.
According to the sources, Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal has requested the relevant authorities to recommend substitute choices that would be provided to the sponsor instead of the imported coal power project plant.
In order to identify other solutions, the authorities have been ordered to perform feasibility studies. The choice represents a break from Pakistan’s pledge to China in February of this year.
Pakistan has committed to including the 300-megawatt Gwadar power plant among its highest priority plans for paying bills once the project had been put into service.
In an effort to allay China’s largest worry, the government also consented to include the much-delayed coal power project in its top priority plans for paying electricity debts.
The early harvest programs that were to be finished during the first phase of CPEC included the Gwadar coal power project (2015-18). However, there were delays since the Chinese insurance company declined to offer loan guarantees because other Chinese coal power projects had payment issues.
During a pre-CPEC Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) meeting this week, Ahsan Iqbal went over specifics.
The JCC, which oversees CPEC’s strategic planning, will need to approve Pakistan’s decision before it can make any unilateral changes to a project.
The 11th JCC session should take place before the second week of November when Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif would travel to China.
Power Plant Using Solar Resources
The government was attempting to schedule the JCC meeting for the final week of October. However, the meeting will once more be held remotely, much like the previous JCC gathering.
According to the reports, the government is thinking of offering the Chinese corporation the choice of building the power plant using solar resources or moving it to Thar.
The choice to build three CPEC power facilities using imported coal eight years ago has proven to be exceedingly expensive, therefore the PML-N-led government is now encouraging the use of local coal.
The Gwadar plant was built to supply electricity to the port city, which experiences load-shedding for 12 to 16 hours a day and imports all of its electricity from Iran.
Around 14MW of the approximately 70MW of electricity Pakistan receives from Iran is designated for Gwadar.
According to sources, the planning minister once more recommended that the Ministry of Finance hurry up and form a special bank account to protect Chinese projects from circular debt.
The government recently paid the Chinese IPPs roughly Rs45 billion, bringing the amount owed by Chinese power plants down to less than Rs240 billion.
These payments are a standard part of clearing the cost of energy production, and the Chinese plants have not received any special treatment.
Update for Security Procedures
Pakistan has updated its security procedures, according to sources, to address the issue of the protection of Chinese citizens and their property.
The Joint Working Group on Safety and Security made the choice last month during a meeting. The updated protocols, however, have prompted worries from the Ministry of Communications.
In order to sign agreements with the Chinese government during the upcoming JCC meeting, Ahsan Iqbal gave the Ministry of Science and Technology instructions to fulfill the necessary paperwork.
Both nations voted to create six sub-working groups on communication technology infrastructure, application innovation, policy and regulation, HR development, cyber security, and radio spectrum regulation during a meeting of the Joint Working Group on Information Technology.
Pak-China Technology Business Forum
During the JCC summit, the Pak-China Technology Business Forum will be formally launched.
Prior to the upcoming JCC conference, Pakistan would attempt to get the revised PC-I of the Mainline-I project of Pakistan Railways approved.
The revised cost estimate from the Ministry of Railways is $10 billion, which is around 45% more expensive than the initial cost. The Ministry of Planning, however, has voiced concerns.
The agriculture industry will receive a lot of attention because both parties anticipate concluding new government-to-government and business-to-business agreements at the upcoming JCC meeting. Pakistan would also ask China for a technology transfer.