Planning ahead: UAE company to set up coal-based power plants in Karachi

By Kazim Alam, The Express Tribune

KARACHI: UAE-based Burj Power will invest up to $700 million in developing four coal-based power plants of 125 megawatts (MW) each at Port Qasim, Burj Power CEO Shahzad Qasim said on Thursday.

Speaking to The Express Tribune after signing a formal agreement with a representative of Harbin Electric International – the technical partner for the project – Qasim said the first plant of 125MW generation capacity will become operational by 2016. “We will try to add one plant annually 2016 onwards, until we achieve 500MW capacity,” he said.

The first phase of the project alone will cost up to $170 million, while the total cost of the project is expected to be between $650 million and $700 million, Qasim noted.

However, he did not state the expected tariff per unit of the electricity generated through the project, saying that Burj Power will approach the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) within the next six months to determine the rate at which it will sell electricity to the Karachi Electricity Supply Company (KESC).

“We have yet to finalise a power purchase agreement with KSEC. After that, Burj and KESC will go to Nepra together for the finalisation of the tariff,” Qasim said. He said that electricity produced by the coal-based plants will cost approximately half of what electricity costs if generated using oil. The project will be constructed near the upcoming coal and clinker terminal being developed at Port Qasim.

Burj Power is a UAE-based power project development and advisory firm, which is developing projects in key markets of the Middle East and Africa. It is also developing three wind power projects in Pakistan. The company is part of the Burj Capital group, which is also involved in the investment banking, retail, agriculture and oil and gas sectors.

Harbin is a Chinese power engineering, manufacturing and construction group with an established base of over 30,000MW of thermal power plants. It was also the engineering, procurement and construction contractor for the recently-completed Bin Qasim Combined Cycle Power Plant, which is producing 560MW of electricity for KESC.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 22, 2013.

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