ISLAMABAD - Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB) Tuesday approved the installation of two 330MW private sector power projects based on Thar coal.

The board of the PPIB approved the installation of two power plants on Thar coal mines located in Sindh. Hub Power Company Limited will build 330 MW power project at Block-II of Thar, Sindh while another 330 MW power project will be completed at the same block of Thar by Thal Power (Private) Limited, said a PPIB press release.

The PPIB board also appreciated the achievement of financial close by 660 MW Engro Powergen last month which has now started construction activities. This is the first power project to be at this advanced stage based on the local Thar coal.

PPIB Managing Director Shah Jahan Mirza briefed the Board on current status of various ongoing power generation projects being handled by PPIB with particular emphasis on projects under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

He further explained that keeping in view the priority of the government of Pakistan, to provide relief to the people by summers next year fast track measures were adopted, and after following the mode of international competitive bidding, Atlas Power Ltd were considered qualified to develop a 220MW R-LNG based IPP at Sheikhupura Punjab.

The Board also approved submission of the proposal to NEPRA for further processing as per NEPRA regulations. The minister appreciated the contribution of private sector in development of Pakistan’s power sector and reiterated that current government is focused on tackling electricity crisis with affordable means to provide real benefit to the nation.

The board was further informed that in current situation, role of CPEC is vital as thousands of megawatts of electricity will be available by 2018 which will bring an end to long lasting power crisis in the country. Currently PPIB is facilitating ten projects of 11000 MW under the game-changer CPEC initiative.

Secretary Water and Power made a presentation to the Board on the government priorities vis-a-vis indigenous fuels for projects beyond 2018.

In order to achieve economic revolution, Pakistan has to be self-reliant in the electricity generation for which current government is already working on number of projects both in public and private sectors to generate thousands of megawatts through the local resources available in the country, Secretary water and power added.

Earlier, presiding over 105th meeting of Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB) held here, Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif said that immediate power requirements of the country are being catered through a mix of fuels, however for the medium to long term requirements of the country, the government focuses and prioritizes the use of indigenous resources like hydropower, local coal, wind and solar etc.

He said that a treasure of 175 billion tons of coal has been sitting idle at Thar for a long time and it is the first time in history of the country that the government has mobilised resources to utilize it for power generation.

Thar coal can be highly instrumental in injecting a large chunk of megawatts into the system through generating cheap electricity. This asset is attracting large number of domestic and foreign investors interested in setting up power generation plants.