STAFF REPORT IBD: Amid the fast depleting hydle power generation in Pakistan, the domestic coal is going to be the cheapest source of power generation when compared with imported coal, LNG, furnace oil and high speed diesel. Domestic natural gas, although cheaper than coal, is fast becoming a scarce commodity.
Unsustainably rising electricity costs and limited foreign exchange reserves have forced policymakers to concentrate on a domestic resource that is in abundance and whose future cost is predictable.
This makes sense given that power demand is forecast to touch 45,400MW in 2019-20, and 134,800MW in 2034-35, according to state-run National Transmission and Dispatch Company.
“The first Thar coal-based power project of 600MW is expected to come into commercial production by end-2017, as its financial close is now near,” said Shamsuddin Shaikh, CEO of Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC).
The Thar Desert is estimated to have over 175 billion tons of coal. According to Shamshuddin, this is about 50 billion tons of oil equivalent – more than Saudi Arabian and Iranian oil reserves put together.