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BEIJING: The 330MW Thar Energy Limited (TEL) Power Project in Thar Block-II being completed under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in Sindh province was making steady progress, said a senior Chinese official.

The TEL power plant was a 330MW mine-mouth lignite-fired power project being built by Thar Energy, which was owned by Hub Power Company (Hubco), China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC), and Fauji Fertilizer Company (FFC).

The TEL power plant would supply electricity to the national grid under a 30-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). Two more coal-fired power plants named Engro Thar Block II power plant and ThalNova were also being developed in Thar Block II, CEN reported.

The Engro Thar Block II power plant was a coal-fired power station in the Tharparkar district, Sindh. It was Pakistan's first power plant to use the indigenous coal reserves of Thar.

The 660MW power plant, which was part of CPEC, was developed by Engro Powergen Thar (EPTL), a joint venture of Engro Powergen (EPL), China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC), Habib Bank, and Liberty Mills.

Construction on the Engro Thar Block II power plant was commenced in April 2016. Trial operations at the plant began in July 2018 while commercial operations began in July 2019.

The coal-fired subcritical power plant was located five kilometres away from Thar Block II near Thar coalfields in Sindh province. It consisted of two 330MW subcritical units, which integrated circulating fluidised bed (CFB) boilers, tandem compound steam turbine units, and generators.

CFB was an ideal option for the low-calorific-value Thar lignite coal. It helped to regulate the plant's environmental footprint by reducing nitrogen oxide emissions and capturing sulphur oxides.

The 20kV, 50Hz, three-phase intercooled generators featured a hydrogen-cooled rotor and stator core, as well as water-cooled rotor windings.

The power plant was also equipped with associated equipment and systems such as cyclones, air pre-heaters, and water walls.

Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) supplied approximately 3.8 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) of coal for the coal-fired power plant from a new opencast mine.

SECMC was a joint venture (JV) by the Government of Sindh (GoS) and Engro Powergen (EPGL). The JV was formed to extract the coal reserves available at the seventh biggest coal mine site in the Thar Desert in Sindh province.

The new coal-fired power plant fed electricity to a 500kV double-circuit transmission line of the grid network between Thar and the Hesco grid station in Jamshoro.

The estimated cost of the Engro Thar power plant was US $995.4 million - funded by a syndicate led by China Development Bank (CDB) with the support from China Export and Credit Insurance Corporation (Sinosure).

The syndicate included Habib Bank, United Bank, Bank Alfalah, National Bank Pakistan, Faysal Bank, Construction Bank of China, and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC).

ThalNova was a second similar 330MW power plant being developed in the same block. The financial closing for the power plant was achieved in September 2020 and the commercial operations are scheduled for 2022.

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