The Engro Thar Block II power plant is a coal-fired power station 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 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 per annum (Mtpa) of coal for the coal-fired 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.
The mine is being developed in three phases, with the first phase providing 3.8Mtpa of coal for the EPTL power plant. The financial closure based on local funding for the phase II expansion was achieved in December 2019 to supply 7.6Mtpa of coal to two additional 330MW power plants to be developed within the same block. The final expansion phase is expected to provide 33Mtpa of coal with the 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 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 (Thar Energy Limited) Power Plant 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). In November 2018, GE Power was awarded the contract for equipment supply, including critical maintenance services, for a period of 12 years.
Scheduled to be operational by March 2021, the TEL power plant will supply electricity to the national grid under a 30-year power purchase agreement (PPA).
ThalNova is a 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.