CPEC projects to produce 17,000 MW of electricity: Sartaj Aziz

ISLAMABAD: Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Sartaj Aziz said on Tuesday that the government’s decisive shift from costly thermal power generation to energy mix will lead to high sustainable economic growth in the country.

“The government is focusing on producing energy from various sources including solar, hydro and wind resources as well as LNG and coal-based power projects to overcome the ongoing energy crisis in the country,” Aziz said while speaking at the International Conference on Sustainable Energy Technologies.

He said Pakistan had been suffering a multi-dimensional energy crisis for the past one decade. “Power shortages coupled with high electricity costs have had a very negative impact on the economy and on public welfare,” he said.

“While inflow of new investments was hampered by the precarious security situation, production from existing units was seriously affected by electricity and gas load-shedding. As a result, the growth rate slowed down to an average of 3% between 2006 and 2013.”

The deputy chairman said the most important thrust of this effort was the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) energy package, which would add 17,000 megawatts to the existing installed capacity of about 20,000MW.

Of this, about half is in the early harvest projects, which will become operational before the end of 2018.

Pointing out that most CPEC projects were being built on the public-private partnership model, he said $30 billion had already been invested by Chinese companies.

“Pakistan will buy electricity at upfront prices and thus it will not add to its debt burden,” he said, adding several other projects outside of CPEC’s realm were being undertaken to add 3,000MW to the system.

He said attention was also being paid to the transmission and distribution system apart from power generation.

During financial year 2016-17, the National Transmission and Despatch Company’s transmission capacity rose 3,000 megavolt-ampere (MVA) and 2,400 MVA on 500 kilovolt (kv) and 220 kv systems respectively.