KARACHI: World is realising the hazards of coal-based power plants but Pakistan is adopting dangerous modus operandi only just to produce cheaper power by imported coal at stake of people’s health.
In a recent development Nishat Mills Limited (NML) has signed a Letter of Interest (LoI) issued by Punjab Power Development Board (PPDB) for setting up 1x600 Megawatts (MW) Coal-based Power Project at Jhang in Punjab.
According to a notice to the Karachi Stock Exchange on Thursday by NML, on behalf of the Consortium i.e NML, Lalpir Power Limited and Pakgen Power Limited, NML as a main sponsor for the project has signed a LoI, which was issued by engineering department of PPDB.
Following the LoI, the feasibility study will be carried out to take decision for the proposed power project, NML said.
Punjab government has planned to set-up 6,000 MW in the medium term (3-5 years) to the national grid through private or public investment in imported Coal Based Power Plants in compliance of government of Pakistan’s (GoP) targets in terms of the demand-supply gap, affordability, efficiency, financial viability and governance of the system through National Energy Policy, 2013.
In this regard, 2x660 MW imported coal fired Power Project proposed to be located at one of the following locations in Punjab including Bhikki (Sheikhupura), Haveli Bahadur Shah (Jhang), Trinda Saway Wala (Rahim Yar Khan), Mouza Saydan Wala (Muzaffargarh), Balloki (Kasur) and Qadirabad (Sahiwal).
In March 2014, PPDB announced Statement of Qualification (SoQ) could be submitted for 1x660 MW Coal Fired Power Project by any sponsor for a site. However, preference will be given to a sponsor who submitted its SoQ to develop 2x660 MW Coal Fired Power Project for that particular site. NML has showed interest to set-up 1x600 MW project hence it is expected NML would be given priority by government of Punjab due to Mian Mansha’s personal relations with Mian Nawaz Sharif.
According to industry experts, when world is substantially reducing their reliance on coal and other non-renewable, highly polluting energy sources due to grave hazard of coal burning to human health, Pakistan is adopting harmful means to overcome energy crisis at the cost of human’s health.
Western countries rapidly eliminating the coal based power plants but unfortunately, developing economies are more likely to increase use of coal in coming years because of its affordability and to meet increasing demand for electricity and steel for the coal industry. China is gimmicking with Pakistan by selling its old coal based power plants as China is also switching on alternate energy production rather than coal.
According to a report, coal-burning plants are some of the worst industrial polluters in the United States, producing approximately one-third of carbon dioxide (CO2, a major contributor to global warming), 40 percent of mercury (highly toxic if ingested or inhaled), one-quarter of nitrogen oxide (an ingredient found in smog) and two-third of sulphur dioxide (a component of acid rain). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) contends sulphur dioxide promotes heart disease and asthma, while nitrogen oxides destroy lung tissue.
Additional hazardous by-products produced by coal-burning plants include, arsenic, chromium, cobalt, lead, manganese, zinc, radionuclides and particulate matter. Each type of coal produces different levels of these pollutants all of which negatively impact both the environment and human health, report added.
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