ISLAMABAD: The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), an important pilot project of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), has helped Pakistan to overcome the energy crisis and paved a way for the country’s economic prosperity, Pakistani officials said.
Pakistan’s Energy Minister Hammad Azhar told The Daily CPEC that “the power plants built under the CPEC hold immense importance” for the country as they have largely solved the serious electricity shortage in Pakistan, bringing advanced technology and creating job opportunities.
Citing the example of the 660kv Matiari-Lahore high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission project under the CPEC, he said that it is a boon for the country’s power sector because it will save energy consumption and transmit cheap electricity from the CPEC’s southern power plants to the northern load centers of the country, which will further “address the issues of energy shortage and inflated price of electricity.”
The CPEC’s southern power plants and the transmission line project, which officially started high-power transmission on Friday and is expected to be put into commercial operation later this year, will ensure the supply availability, stability and security, supporting the industrialization process in the country, the minister said.
Talking about the future of the BRI as a green Belt and Road, and the CPEC as a green corridor, he said the country is striving to achieve “the target of 30 percent renewable energy in the national grid up till 2030, and the CPEC will play a vital role for it” due to its fair contribution in renewable energy projects including hydropower, wind and solar.
On the sidelines of the high-power transmission ceremony of the Matiari-Lahore HVDC transmission project on Friday, Managing Director of the National Transmission and Despatch Company Muhammad Ayub told Xinhua that besides addressing the power crisis, the CPEC energy projects also provided a large number of direct and indirect employments to Pakistanis, thus contributing to the economic development of the country.
The CPEC’s power plants are giving Pakistan electricity at the cheapest prices and when the cheapest energy will be transmitted through the HVDC line, it will save a substantial amount of electricity from getting wasted, and will eventually give cheaper electricity to the end-consumers, he added.
The official added that currently “over 18 percent of the country’s electricity gets wasted due to the old transmission lines, but with the introduction of the HVDC transmission project for the first time in the
country, the CPEC will help the country save its energy as the electricity wastage percentage in the Matiari-Lahore transmission line is only about 4 percent,” which will make a huge difference.
In the month of June, an 18-percent increase in the demand for electricity has been witnessed by the industrial sector, indicating the growth of the industry in Pakistan.
Pakistan is able to meet this demand because of the BRI which is injecting enough electricity into the country’s national grid, enabling it to meet the demand of both domestic and industrial consumers.
The CPEC projects are adding and will add more electricity in our system after the completion of the ongoing projects, and will help us generate more revenues by flourishing our industry, besides improving the lifestyle of our public,” Ayub added