Sahiwal Speed: Bringing CPEC to fruition

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Hamayoun khan*

Huaneng Shandong Ruyi Group of China successfully completed its Coal power plant in Pakistan ahead of its scheduled energization, a remarkable feat indeed. Sahiwal 2x660MW Coal-Fired Power Plant in Punjab, Pakistan was completed and put into operation. Under the Early Harvest project , this was a ‘priority project’ under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), this Project is the first overseas large-scale high-efficiency environmental friendly coal-fired power project built by Huaneng and Ruyi group of China, in line with President Xi’s “Belt and Road” Initiative or sometimes referred to as One Belt and One Road (OBOR) initiative. The construction of Sahiwal coal-fired power plant lasted 22 months and 8 days, and the planned energization was supposed to be in October 2017 and commercial operation date (COD) was 25 December, 2017. However the Chinese company along with Pakistani government was able to finish the project 22 days ahead of the internal control milestone plan, and 200 days ahead of the contract period. It has fulfilled the solemn commitment to people and the government of Pakistan, and has created ‘Sahiwal Speed’ in the energy construction of China-Pakistan Economy Corridor participated by Huaneng and Ruyi Group of China.
Huaneng Shandong Ruyi Pakistan Sahiwal coal-fired power plant consists of 2×660MW super critical coal-fired generating units jointly invested and constructed by China Huaneng Shandong Power Generation Co., Ltd. and Shandong RuyiTechnology Group Co., Ltd., with a total investment of about 1.8 US billion dollars. The project is located about 18 km northeast of Sahiwal, Punjab, Pakistan. The construction was started on July 31, 2015. Until June 8th this year, both of the two units completed 168 hours full-load test run. As the first environmental friendly coal-fired power plant completed under CPEC, with the largest capacity, the most advanced technology and the optimal environmental index, this plant can produce over 9 billion KHW electricity annually, which can satisfy the electricity demand of 10 million people, and is expected to fill 1/4 of the power deficit in Pakistan. There are more than 600 units varying from 300 MW to 1200 MW operating in the world under this technology, also if we compare this with India there where power generation from coal amounts to more than 55-60 of the total power produced. In case on China it is more than 65% and in USA its more than 50% in the total energy mix of these respective countries. Pakistan until recently was using coal to about 9% in its total energy mix and only 0.1% for Power Generation.
During the project construction period, Huaneng Shandong Ruyi Pakistan Company worked tenaciously in collaboration with all contractors towards the common goal of creating State-level Excellence Project and Overseas Demonstration Project. By overcoming the hardships of severe climatic condition like high temperature in summer and heavy foggy weather in winter, the cultural gap between the two countries, the long distance transportation of equipment and material, sometimes lack of construction material in local markets and other various unfavorable conditions, the Chinese Company had been working all out to advance the construction of Sahiwal project in an orderly and systematic manner with a coordinated development of safety, quality and speed through meticulous organization, scientific construction and strict quality management. This project has realized production with high quality and high standard, with achievements of 9 ‘Full Success’ of both units in the boiler hydraulic tests, back energization, DCS system energization, assembling of turbine upper cylinder, acid washing of boilers, ignition and steam blowing of boilers, steam turbine running, synchronization, 168-hour full-load test run, which has obtained high recognition and praise from governments at all levels and all circles of society in Pakistan and won honor for China and Huaneng.
The success of this project is going to pave way for smooth implementation of other Coal Power plants that are planned in Early Harvest as well as mid-term plans of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects. The clean and advanced technologies that are and will be used in future will still make Pakistan one of the cleanest energy producing countries by international standards. By 2024 the installed capacity will be much higher in Pakistan and coal will still be only 13-15% in total energy mix of Pakistan compared what China, India and USA are producing now or will produce in future. So the negative propaganda surrounding the environmental effects of these projects is mere exaggeration and nothing else. China Huaneng Shandong Power Generation Co Ltd and Shandong Ruyi Technology Group Co Ltd deserve recognition for their efficient and timely work. Abundant and affordable electricity will play a very important role in improving the standard of life in Pakistan. Throughout the world proven reserves of coal are plentiful and hence coal-based power generation has dominated in most countries. In Pakistan, the recent and future development of super critical coal power plant will be an evolutionary step towards greater power output per unit and higher efficiency in our overall energy mix.
The writer is Faculty Member at NDU and founding member of Pakistan Council on China.