Pakistan: Eco-friendly coal-fired plant powers houses

Pakistan has suffered prolonged energy shortage for years, and in the past, the Sahiwal district used to face blackouts of up to 18 hours every day, troubling residents and affecting crop yields there.
Frequent blackouts also occurred in major neighbouring cities such as Lahore, Multan and Faisalabad, repeatedly bringing these industrial and commercial hubs to a standstill.
The 1,320-megawatt coal-fired power plant located in the Sahiwal district of Pakistan’s east Punjab province is playing a significant role in the electricity-starved country and has changed local people’s negative impression about thermal power plants.
As a major investment under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the Sahiwal power plant has so far generated 21.83 billion kWh of electricity, effectively narrowing the gap in power supply in the country, especially in the Punjab province.
Li Xin, CEO of the power plant’s operator Huaneng Shandong Ruyi (Pakistan) Energy (Private) Limited, said Pakistan depends on coal for 30-40 percent of its power supply.
The Chinese-operated power plant, which now provides about 6 percent of the total electricity generation in Pakistan, has “not only brought comfort to our lives but has also helped raise agricultural yields” due to improvements in irrigation, Alam Khan, who tends a guava orchard near the power station, told Xinhua.
To meet Pakistan’s urgent energy needs, the Sahiwal power plant was built within 22 months, with the capacity to supply power to 4 million households.
Besides electricity, it also provides jobs, skills and business opportunities to locals. Over 3,000 local workers have been recruited by at the plant during its construction phase and its current operational phase. About 800 local residents are currently working in the plant in different capacities.