KARACHI: Coal-based electricity generation witnessed 94.5 percent growth in November 2019 to reach 2,030 GWh taking coal’s share in country’s energy mix to 27 percent, data issued by National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) suggests.
“Induction of China Power Hub Generation and Engro Powergen Thar in the system was the primary reason behind this surge,” Rao aamir Ali at Arif Habib Limited said.
China Power Hub Generation Company (CPHGC) set up a 1,320-megawatt plant at a cost of $2 billion at Hub, Balochistan under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The imported coal-fired plant started commercial operations by supplying power to the national grid station in August.
The Engro Powergen Thar project of 660MW came on line in July. The local coal-fired plant was set up at an estimated cost of $1.1 billion.
Authorities opted to utilise a massive amount of coal for power production after having replaced the expensive oil-fired power generation.
Pakistan has suffered crippling energy shortages in the past and the government has sought to fill this capacity gap with coal financed by China. China is investing in 21 energy projects under the CPEC, a flagship project under the larger Belt and Road Initiative. The majority of this investment has gone into coal.
Overall electricity generation clocked in 7,434 GWh (10,325 MW) during November 2019, compared to 7,546 GWh (10,480 MW) during November 2018.
Major contributors during the month were hydel, coal, nuclear, gas and RLNG. On yearly basis, coal based power generation went up by 95 percent followed by 13 percent rise in hydel based generation. However, gas and RLNG based generation went down by 54 percent and 47 percent, respectively.
During 11MCY19 (January-November 2019), power generation went up by 0.1 percent to settle at 116,460 GWh. “Given higher generation on hydel and coal, fuel costs have shrunk by 5.4 percent to average at Rs5.18/KWh during 11MCY19,” Ali said.
Fuel cost for power generation went down by 15.2 percent to Rs3.34/KWh in November. “The decline in fuel cost was led by 12 percent decline in coal-based generation cost attributable to 23.3 percent decline in coal prices. Being a relatively cheaper source of power generation, the higher generation has also contributed to lower fuel cost of overall system”.
There was zero generation on furnace oil, which is the most expensive source for power generation. Bagasse-based cost of generation went down by 11.4 percent to Rs5.5/KWh.
Hydel-based power generation went up by 13.1 percent YoY to 2,900 GWh. Nuclear-based power generation witnessed an increase of 4.6 percent YoY to 858 GWh. Wind-based power generation went up by 19.7 percent to 152 GWh, while solar-based power generation went up by 2.4 percent to 49 GWh.