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article imageChina to invest $15 billion in Pakistan coal-fired power plants

By Karen Graham     May 3, 2017 in Environment
Islamabad - While the rest of the world is embracing renewable clean energy, Pakistan has drawn criticism by accepting $15 billion from Chinese investors over the next 15 years to construct about a dozen coal-fired power plants.
The Thomas Reuters Foundation is reporting that Mohammed Younus Dagha, the former federal secretary for water and power, who became commerce secretary at the end of March, emphasized the coal-fired power plants are part of the $54 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)
CPEC is the agreement signed by China and Pakistan in April 2015, and some experts have likened it to the Marshall Plan undertaken by the United States in post-war Europe. The main focus of the agreement centers on energy generation capacity, something that is sorely needed in Pakistan.
The CPEC project also includes spending around $33 billion on 19 energy projects that include the coal-fired power plants and renewable power plants, transmission lines, and other infrastructure, such as roads. “Hefty investment under the CPEC project has held out hopes of significantly spiking domestic power generation (by) around 6,000 MW by the end of 2018,” Dagha said.
It is estimated that the combined energy projects will eventually generate 16,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity, a commodity sorely needed in a country that experiences chronic energy shortages which regularly amount to over 4,500MW. With fast-tracking of the energy projects, Pakistan can expect to possibly bring more than 10,400MW of energy generating capacity online by the end of 2018.
The Tharparkar desert region is the only fertile desert in the world. The region also holds vast res...
The Tharparkar desert region is the only fertile desert in the world. The region also holds vast reserves of coal.
M. Jamil Khan
And according to the World Bank, only 67 percent of the country's 190,000 million people have access to electricity. the federal minister for planning, development, and reform, Ahsan Iqbal, cites the vast coal reserves in the sprawling desert region of Tharparkar in southern Pakistan.
"Pakistan must tap these unutilised vast underground reserves of 175 billion tons of coal, adequate to meet the country's energy needs for several decades, for powering the country's economic wheel, creating new jobs, and fighting spiking unemployment and poverty," Iqbal said.
With all those new coal-fired power plants being constructed, there is the fear that Pakistan's world-image will be tarnished, or at least covered in coal ash. Fully 75 percent of the newly generated electrical power will be coming from coal, but Dagha says the latest in pollution-minimizing equipment will be installed, according to Power Engineering International.
More about Pakistan, 12 coalfired power plants, 175 billion tons, CO2 Emissions, chinabacked
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