Matiari-Lahore power transmission line to cut losses to 4%: PM
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday said the operationalisation of the country’s first-ever transmission line of 660kV high-voltage direct current (HVDC) would reduce the line losses to 4 per cent from 17 per cent, resulting in the availability of cheap electricity to the consumers.
Addressing the inauguration of 886km-long Matiari-Lahore HVDC with a capacity of 4,400MW generation under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the prime minister said the project would prove as a “leading energy transmission artery from the country’s south to north”.
Premier Khan said that the significant reduction in line losses would save billions and also lessen the burden on the common man paying the expensive electricity bills.
He regretted the previous government did not carry out on-ground work on the Matiari-Lahore project signed with China in 2013, which made the public immensely suffering the power load-shedding.
The prime minister expressed satisfaction that his government after assumption of power in 2018 carried out the construction work of the state-of-the-art Matiari-Lahore project at full pace and completed it, despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
Besides energy, he said, other CPEC projects under Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative relating to industrialisation and innovation in agriculture would be launched in the next phase.
He expressed the hope that the completion of CPEC projects would lead to wealth creation and help the government pay off heavy debt.
Federal Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar said the project, which was made operational after testing it in three phases, including the peak seasons, would help remove the transmission bottleneck.
The CPEC power projects were the important pillars of Pakistan’s economic system and were acting as “smart and efficient sources” of green energy generation, he said.
Chinese Ambassador Nong Rong termed the operationalisation of 660kV HVDC project a milestone and said Pakistan’s power grid system had now entered a new era of development and upgradation.
He said cheap electricity was key to the socioeconomic development of Pakistan and vowed that China would continue to extend its support in this regard.
He said the 886km transmission line would go along 510km of motorway and create around 70,000 jobs in the country.
State Grid Corporation of China president Xin Baoan in his video-link address to the ceremony said the 70th anniversary of Pak-China friendship was marked by cooperation at diverse levels for the benefit of their people.
He said his corporation would work closely with its local counterparts in Pakistan on the energy projects cooperation. The HVDC transmission line project will evacuate power from the upcoming coal-based thermal power plants located at Port Qasim, Hub and Thar, he added.
The National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC) carried out a study through an international consultant, which proposed HVDC technology for the transfer of bulk power for its cost-effectiveness and lower line losses.
Moreover, the requirement of ‘right of way’ for HVDC is less than high-voltage alternate current (HVAC) lines.
The HVDC line Matiari in Sindh to Lahore in Punjab will have 1,973 towers and two converter stations with AC substations, one each at Matiari and Lahore.
It will have two grounding stations at 50km to 80km from Matiari and Lahore converter stations and three repeater stations along the route of line to boost telecommunication signals, each at Salehpat, Rahim Yar Khan and Hasilpur.
The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) has approved the total cost of the project of $1,658 million, including taxes, insurance etc, and has issued a tariff determination of Rs0.74/kWh at the rate of $1 (equal to Rs104.4).
The monthly HVDC line capacity charges for 4,000MW are Rs4.2 billion approximately after indexation in tariff.
The project is being executed on Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) basis for a period of 25 years. The operation and maintenance of the converter stations will be carried out by Pak MLTC and that of the transmission line by the NTDC.
The self-supported towers have been installed for bi-pole HVDC lines with quad bundle conductors and the size of 4×1250mm2.
Nepra has fixed the line availability factor of 98.5 per cent and any unavailability beyond 1.5 per cent allowed would be penalised. The EPAs [Environmental Protection Agencies] of the Sindh and Punjab governments have issued No-Objection Certificates for EIA [Environmental Impact Assessment].
The testing and commissioning of the project continued for more than a year and was completed on August 18, 2021 after its trial run for 168 hours along with the capability demonstration tests.
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