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    Coal-fired power plant under CPEC in Pakistan starts operation

    February 8, 2023 - Global Times


      Photo: Screenshot of the coal-fired power plant of the Thar Coal Block-I Coal Electricity Integration project from Xinhua

      A coal-fired power plant with a total installed capacity of 1,320 megawatts in the Thar Coal Block-I Coal Electricity Integration project under the framework of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) officially has started commercial operation, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Tuesday.

      The plant, which went into operation on Sunday, is expected to provide about 9 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity each year to the Pakistani national grid, which can meet the demand of nearly 4 million local households, according to Meng Donghai, head of the project.

      Meng noted that the project will lower energy costs, improve Pakistan's energy structure and alleviate a crisis related to energy imports while strengthening Pakistan's energy security, according to Xinhua.

      Construction began on the plant in 2019 in the Thar Desert of Sindh province in southern Pakistan, marking the first large-scale overseas thermal power generation project independently developed, built and operated by the Shanghai Electric Group.

      The project includes an open-pit coal mine with an annual output of 7.8 million tons of lignite and a coal-fired power station with two separate 660-megawatt high-parameter supercritical thermal power generating units, per the Xinhua report.

      As a corridor linking the Gwadar port in Pakistan with Kashgar in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, launched in 2013, the CPEC highlights bilateral energy, transport and industrial cooperation.

      Under the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, the CPEC has achieved fruitful results since its launch a decade ago, with deepened cooperation covering key sectors from energy to infrastructure construction.

      As of 2022, the CPEC had created 190,000 job opportunities, Meng Wei, spokesperson for the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planner, said at a press conference in November 2022.

      Meng Wei noted that a handful of achievements were made in 2022 in a wide range of fields such as transportation, energy and agriculture, while China actively assisted Pakistan in the fight against floods and post-disaster reconstruction.

      Pakistani Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal said in December that the CPEC had changed the international community's impression of Pakistan from a hotbed of terrorism to a land worthy of massive investment in construction, according to an early report from Xinhua

      "CPEC opened the door for billions of US dollars to flow into Pakistan in the forms of foreign and domestic investment," he noted.

      Global Times


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