By Engr. Sheikh Muhammad Ibraheem and Rabia Farheen
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a group of infrastructural projects that started being built in Pakistan. By 2020, the value of CPEC projects have increased to $62 billion from their initial estimate of $47 billion in 2013. By building modern transportation networks, many energy projects, and special economic zones, CPEC aims to quickly update Pakistan’s necessary infrastructure and boost its economy.
One of the most significant challenges in Pakistan’s history is the energy crisis. Blackouts lasting several hours are frequent in many cities across the country. For the nation’s technical and economic progress in the twenty-first century, new energy sources are crucial. The CPEC energy projects would place a lot of emphasis on energy generation, with a projected investment of $33 billion. These projects are owned by the private companies instead of government companies of Pakistan or China. In 2015 Pakistan and China have also talked about incorporating the $14 billion, 4,500 MW Diamer-Bhasha Dam into the CPEC project.
By 2030, Pakistan wants to generate 25% of its electricity needs from renewable sources. The Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park, a 6500 acre world’s largest solar power project near the city of Bahawalpur, was built by the Chinese company Zonergy and has an estimated capacity of 1000 MW.
Despite a number of renewable energy projects, the majority of the new energy generation capacity under CPEC are coal-based facilities. As part of the CPEC’s “Early Harvest” projects, $5.8 billion in coal power projects are finished by early 2019. The installation of a 660 KV transmission line between Matiari and Lahore was also announced and is now fully functional. Power stations using coal would be used to generate the electricity in Hub, Port Qasim, and Thar. With a 10% overload capacity for two hours, it could provide 2000 MW of power. In addition, a 300 MW coal power plant with a 0% interest loan is being built in the city of Gwadar. A 132 KV (AIS) Grid Station and an associated D/C Transmission Line are also part of the development of Gwadar, as are other 132 KV Sub Stations at Deep Sea Port Gwadar.
The 1,320 MW Sahiwal Coal Power Project, worth $1.8 billion, has been running continuously since 3 July 2017. It is located in central Punjab. The Huaneng Shandong business and Shandong Ruyi, who will jointly own and operate the factory, formed a joint venture to build it. At a cost of 8.36 US cents/kWh, Pakistan will acquire power from the partnership.
As part of the “Thar-I” project in the Thar coalfield of Sindh province, the Shanghai Electric business of China will build two 660 MW power stations, while “Thar-ll” will be constructed by a different consortium. Numerous coal-fired power plants are also nearing completion at various levels. Two projects with a total capacity of 1320 MW, the SSRL Thar Coal Block-I 6.8 Power Plant, are projected to be finished in 2023. It is predicted that the 330 MW Thal Nova Thar Coal Power Project would be completed in 2022. HUBCO Thar Coal Power Plant, with a 330 MW capacity, is operating since 2021.
CPEC energy projects will add more power to tackle the current energy crisis of the country. This extremely long and heavily invested project will no just benefit Pakistan and China but other countries like Iran, Afghanistan, the Central Asian Republic
Sheikh Muhammad Ibraheem is a student of electrical engineering, an author, and a researcher
from Pakistan. He is an active member of NSPE and IEEE world’s largest engineering
communities. His books are published across the globe and is currently studying in The
University of Lahore. Rabia Farheen is a student of electrical and electronics engineering. Her keen interest lies in the modern robotics and artificial intelligence. She is currently working on medical robot as her final year project.