The first China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project in the power evacuation and transmission sector, the 660kV High-Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) Matiari-Lahore transmission line, began commercial operations on time this week, according to Pakistani media.
China has pledged more than $60 billion for energy and infrastructure projects in Pakistan as part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which aims to build land and maritime trade links across Asia and beyond.
HVDC technology is extensively utilized for long-distance high-power transmission from distant producing facilities to highly populated load centers all over the globe.
“It is a matter of great importance that the country finally succeeded in having the first and the biggest HVDC transmission line to evacuate 4,000 megawatts from power plants in the south in direct current (DC) mode, transport and transmit it to Lahore after converting it into alternate current (AC) mode and finally feed it to the distribution systems in the load centers in Punjab,” National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) Managing Director Azaz Ahmad told Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper.
“With the provision of the HVDC line, there are now meager chances of blackouts, breakdowns, etc due to system constraints since the entire NTDC transmission and dispatch system has attained stability.”
After a power outage in Pakistan’s financial capital of Karachi a day earlier on Wednesday, Ahmad claimed the Matiari-Lahore line had “helped keep the system stable and saved it from a ripple effect to other parts of the country.”
On Wednesday, NTDC MD Ahmad, PMLTC head Zhang Lei, and others attended a launch ceremony for the transmission line at the Wapda House in Lahore.
“We appreciate the Chinese company for completion of the project on time,” the MD said on the occasion, adding that the line would bring stability to the NTDC transmission network.
PMLTC (Pvt) Limited completed the 878-kilometer 4,000MW project on a Build-Operate-Transfer basis for a period of 25 years. The project will transport electricity from new producing units in the country’s south, notably the Thar coal-fired power plants.
The NTDC will be in charge of the transmission line’s operation and maintenance.