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Pakistan will convert imported coal-based power plants to local coal or solar

The Government of Pakistan has decided to convert its existing imported coal-based power plants to run on local coal. Those plants are the Port Qasim plant, Sahiwal plant and China Hub plant, each one having a 1.32 GW capacity. Pakistan’s fuel import bill surpassed US$20bn in the last fiscal year (2021-2022), so this initiative is being taken to scale down the fuel import costs and reduce reliance on imported fuel for power generation.

In addition, Pakistan’s Power Division has also decided to replace a projected 300 MW imported coal plant in Gwadar (southern Pakistan) with a solar plant. The project, conceived under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), was approved in 2016 but construction had not yet begun. Pakistan’s Power division now considers requesting China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), in charge of the project, to replace the imported coal-based plant with a solar plant of the same capacity.

Pakistan’s coal imports have tripled since 2015, reaching 18.7 Mt in 2020, as the country commissioned several coal-fired plants during that period. Coal and lignite production reached about 5 Mt in the country, and total coal consumption reached 24 Mt (2020).

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