cover image: May 2024 - Can aging thermal power plants in Pakistan be revitalized?


May 2024 - Can aging thermal power plants in Pakistan be revitalized?

16 May 2024

• While operations on Thar coal may result in a lower cost of generation than furnace oil, the logistics of transporting coal from the Thar coal fields in Sindh to Hub would be extremely complex, requiring the presence of dedicated railway tracks or the construction of additional off-loading and handling facilities and a jetty in Hub. [...] In January 2024, HUBCO signed a memorandum of understanding with K-Electric, a vertically integrated utility that supplies power to the megacity of Karachi and its surrounding districts, to explore the possibility of converting to Thar coal after its PPA expiry with the central grid. [...] Regardless of the coal transportation method, the plant in Hub would need a coal storage yard capable of holding at least 30 to 45 days of stock, plus a daily supply, and an environmentally stable ash pond to handle the higher waste volume from Thar coal. Running the plant on Thar coal would also require upgrading environmental controls, including installing an electrostatic precipitator for flue. [...] Now, HUBCO plans to move beyond the central grid and supply power to K-Electric, which may be interested due the scheduled retirement of 682 MW of thermal capacity from its generation fleet by 2024, according to the 2022 IGCEP. [...] In addition, if replacing the retiring capacity is the goal, a retrofit would take at least three to four years to complete, depending on timely financial closure and the availability of funds.
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