Where the previous government had spurred activity in infrastructure and development projects, the same has been missing in Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf’s one year in office. And it’s no surprise that the main reason has been the evolving nature of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Where previously the focus had been on energy and infrastructure projects, CPEC’s focus is now on industrial and agricultural collaborations and setting up of Special Economic Zone (SEZs).
While there has been no new power projects announced under the present regime, coal is quickly becoming a significant part of the power generation mix as the announced projects under CPEC start to come online. The latest of the early harvest projects has been by Hub Power Company Limited. As per the notice on Pakistan Stock Exchange, the company’s joint venture joint venture - China Power Hub Generation Company (Pvt) Ltd (CPGHC) – with China Power International Holding (CPIH) for a 1320-megawatt(2x660) imported coal-fired power plant achieved the commercial operations date (COD), and has officially started supplying electricity to the national grid. The project’s integrated coal jetty is also operational with first shipment of imported coal coming in December last year.
The project was initially approved in 2014. However, recall that the project though completed in the set time duration had to face bottlenecks as the government decided to back off imported fuel power plants because of excess power generation capacity and related financial repercussions. But the project was among the lucky ones to be restored.
Hubco has also ventured into indigenous coal. It has acquired 37 percent stake in ThalNova PowerThar (Pvt) Limited through its subsidiary, Hub Power Holdings Limited. Back in 2016, ThalNova was granted a power generation license for setting up a 330-megawatt coal-fired power plant at Thar coal mine. The power company is also constructing a 330-megawatt coal power plant with Thar Energy Limited, and another one with Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company at Thar.