Continuing its mission to secure Karachi’s energy future and provide its 3.2 million consumers with safe and reliable power, K-Electric (KE) has successfully implemented a ‘Black Start’ capability for the first time in their generation fleet at the Korangi Power Complex (KPC) that is responsible for generating 247 MW of electricity for Karachi.
The technology allows power plants to go from shutdown mode to generating power without any assistance from the external power grid, making the utility self-sufficient in restoring power in the case of black outs.
This is akin to having a standby generator to jumpstart the main generation complex, which will then energize KE’s fleet and network. The Black Start facility has been incorporated by only a handful of power producers in Pakistan and now KE has also incorporated this facility in its own generation fleet.
This will allow KE to reduce dependency on IPPs as earlier KE has ensured black-start facility for its consumers through arrangement with of its IPPs namely Tapal and Gul Ahmed. Additionally, KE is also equipped with islanding facility at KPC as well as its BQPS-II to ensure quick power restoration in case of black outs.
Before proceeding for Black Start Project, KE commissioned all machines of KPC on High Speed Diesel (HSD).
The HSD Project which begun in October 2020 was completed before the summer of 2021, in which the successful operation of this Power Plant were experienced on dual fuel and uninterrupted power supply from the plant as KE was able to mitigate gas constraints.
Subsequently, the ‘Black Start’ Project kick started in April 2021 with a focus on enhancing the resilience and stability of the grid
This is part of KE’s ongoing commitment to the city of Karachi and its sustained growth in consumption of electricity.
KE’s Generation Team successfully tested the power plant on 28th and 29th October under varying operational scenarios and fuel selection.
Once Black Start was achieved, KE was able to successfully transmit the power to energize 220KV transmission lines. This indicates technical preparedness to export power to a network facing black out.
Commenting on the landmark achievement, K-Electric spokesperson said, “We are very pleased to announce this milestone addition in our generation technology. Electricity grids are a complex infrastructure with deeply intertwined connections and require close oversight at all times to ensure a reliable power supply to consumers.
Black Start facilities are being increasingly integrated into power grids across the world. This in-house capability significantly reduces the system restoration time of our networks and is a step towards achieving self-sufficiency.”
Alongside the Black Start project, KE has been investing heavily in its generation, transmission, and distribution infrastructure.
With sustained investments, the power utility company is achieving greater efficiency in its operations and has reduced its transmission and distribution losses by 16.7% since privatization i.e. from 34.2% to 17.5% as of June 2021.
As part of this, KE has also proposed an additional investment plan of approximately PKR 140 billion which will be used to extend the reach of its network, create more redundancies, and underpin the socio-economic development of the city.
At the same time, the company is also growing its focus towards supporting consumer needs.
KE has been making efforts to embed its technology and digitization which has been fast-tracked since COVID-19 allowing consumers to stay connected remotely via a WhatsApp Self Service portal number 03480000118 which can be used to lodge technical and billing complaints, download and pay duplicate bills, and more through a real-time automated method.