ISLAMKOT: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Wednesday inaugurated the 330 MW HUBCO power plant which he said has added 990 MW coal-fired power to the national grid to empower Pakistan with cheapest and indigenous source of energy.
Speaking at the launch ceremony of HUBCO and its partners at Thar Coal Block-II, Murad said that Benazir Bhutto’s vision has been vindicated as Thar coal prices are two to three times cheaper versus imported lignite while saving billions of dollars in foreign exchange.
The ceremony was attended by Minister Energy Imtiaz Shaikh, SECMC, EPTL, TEL, TNPTL, CEMC, HBL- the partners in the project.
The Sindh CM said that the Sindh govt has become major shareholder in first Thar coal mining company SECMC and also provided financial guarantee required by Chinese lenders to achieve financial close of the mine.
Shah said that his government had provided continuous support to Thar coal IPPs as well as mining companies and had ensured the provision of necessary infrastructure, including roads, bridges and on top of it Mai Bakhtawar Airport, so that these projects can function smoothly.
“We are also aware of the water requirements for Thar Power Projects and have made arrangements to ensure uninterrupted water supply for power generation,” he said while adding that the key driver for development of Thar was the welfare of local population.
Murad Shah said that the development of Thar coal had also brought positive changes in the life of local people as substantial CSR activities are being carried out in the fields of employment, education, medical facilities by mining and power generation companies through Thar Foundation.
He said that government was also working to ensure ramp up of mine quickly and utilization of Thar coal for energy needs of other industrial sectors including cement, fertilizers and others. “We are also working closely with federal government to develop rail link for mass transportation of Thar coal,” he said and added the rail link project will start soon.
Thar Energy Ltd. is a 330 MW Coal Fired Power Project based on Thar Coal and a part of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The Project is a joint venture among Hub Power Company Ltd (Hubco), Fauji Fertilizer Company Ltd (FFC), China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) and has been completed at a cost of US $520 million
It may be noted that foreign financing for the project was arranged from Chinese syndicate, led by China Development Bank whereas local financing has been arranged via syndicate led by Habib Bank Ltd.
The project started construction in May 2018 from sponsors’ equity without waiting for financial close to ensure earliest utilization of indigenous Thar Coal.
The financial close of the project was achieved in January 2020. The project experienced delays due to delays in loan disbursement from Chinese lenders and later due to COVID-19 pandemic.
The project is now in commissioning phase after the chief minister formally switched it on to synchronize it with national grid on August 3, whereas COD is expected by August 20 to 28. At the inauguration, 40 MW was sent to the national grid and by the end of August, a total of 330 MW power will be added in the national system.