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Engro Thar Block II power plant is a new coal-fired power station located in the Tharparkar district, Sindh, Pakistan. It is Pakistan’s first power plant to use indigenous coal reserves of Thar.
The 660MW power plant is part of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which forms part of the Belt and Road Initiative to link China with Europe. It 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.
Thar Block II power plant make-up
The coal-fired subcritical power plant is located 5km away from Thar Block II near Thar coalfields in the Sindh province. It consists of two 330MW subcritical units, which integrate circulating fluidised bed (CFB) boilers, tandem compound steam turbine units, and generators.
CFB is an ideal option for the low calorific value Thar lignite coal. It helps to regulate the plant’s environmental footprint by reducing nitrogen oxide emissions and capturing sulphur oxides.
The 20kV, 50Hz, three-phase intercooled generators feature a hydrogen-cooled rotor and stator core, as well as water-cooled rotor windings.
The power plant is also equipped with associated equipment and systems such as cyclones, air pre-heaters, and water walls.
Coal supply to Engro Thar Block II power plant
Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) supplies approximately 3.8 million tonnes of coal per annum for the power plant from a new opencast mine.
SECMC is a joint venture (JV) between 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 excavation work for the power plant was carried out at the Block II of the Thar coalfields.
SECMC develop the mine in three phases. The first phase provides 3.8Mtpa of coal for the EPTL power plant, the second phase will produce 7.6Mtpa of coal for two additional 330MW power plants, while the final phase is expected to provide 33Mtpa of coal with a potential to produce 3,960MW of electricity.
The new coal-fired power plant feeds electricity to a 500kV double-circuit transmission line of the grid network between Thar and the Hesco grid station located in Jamshoro.
Key players involved in the project
The estimated cost of the Engro Thar power plant is $995.4m, which was funded by a syndicate led by China Development Bank (CDB) with support from China Export and Credit Insurance Corporation (Sinosure).
The syndicate includes Habib Bank, United Bank, Bank Alfalah, National Bank Pakistan, Faysal Bank, Construction Bank of China, and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC).
In May 2016, GE received a contract from CMEC to provide two 330MW CFB boilers for the power station. The equipment was delivered by the company in July 2017.
Other power plants under development in Thar Block II
Two more coal-fired power plants named TEL and ThalNova are being developed in Thar Block II.
The TEL power plant is a 330MW mine-mouth lignite-fired power project being built by Thar Energy, which is owned by Hub Power Company (Hubco), CMEC, and Fauji Fertilizer Company (FFC). The power plant is expected to be operational by March 2021.
ThalNova is a similar 330MW power plant being developed in the same block.
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