ISLAMABAD - The Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB) has Friday granted three months extension in commercial operation dates (CODs) of two Thar Coal Power Plants (660 mw) and now it will start operation in March 2021 instead of December 2020.

The 117th meeting of the PPIB, held here with Federal Minister Power Division Awais Ahmad Khan Leghari in chair, agreed to grant extension to 330 MW Thar Energy Ltd and 330 MW Thal Noa Thar Power Limited both at Thar Block-II. Earlier the projects were supposed to be completed in December 2020 but now it has been extended to March 2021, it is learnt reliably here. The decision was taken because the 660 kilovolt high-voltage direct current (HVDC) Matiari-Lahore transmission line, which will evacuate and transmit electricity from these projects, will be not ready by the end of 2020 and is likely to be completed in the beginning of 2021.

The transmission project was delayed and the PPIB board has granted extension in the financial close of the 660-kilovolt high-voltage direct current (HVDC) Matiari-Lahore transmission line being laid under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). It is pertinent to mention here that in March the PPIB has granted an extension in financial close to 330-megawatt project of Thal Energy Limited and 330MW of Thal Nova Thar Private Limited. Now both the power generation and transmission projects will commence simultaneously.

In his remarks during the 117th meeting, the minister said that the need of timely completion and synchronization of the transmission line project with the upcoming generation projects in Karachi and Thar, as evacuation and transmission of electricity from these plants heavily relies on the timely completion of Matiari-Lahore Transmission Line project.

The PPIB Board also agreed extension to grant extension in LOI was also accorded to 300 MW Coal Power Project at Gwadar. Federal Minister Power Division Awais Ahmad Khan Leghari further said that the government has removed the darkness of load shedding from the country by completing energy projects in a record period of time and added that process of industrial development will be accelerated and job opportunities will be enhanced due to overcoming of energy crisis.

He said that along with other stakeholders of the Power Sector, PPIB has contributed addition of maximum megawatts to the national grid.

He said that just five years ago, energy, terrorism and violence were Pakistan's biggest challenges but our government has overcome these evils within a brief term of five years and we can see that Pakistan is rising towards becoming a strong economy.  PPIB Managing Director Shah Jahan Mirza briefed the board on overall performance of PPIB during the last five years in developing Pakistan's power sector.

The board was briefed that since June 2013, PPIB has managed to handle biggest and most diversified portfolio of its history and delivered exceptional results. Implementation of major portion of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) energy program comprising coal, hydro and transmission line projects was the prime task. PPIB as the leading institution of the GoP, processed these projects diligently.

The board of PPIB has been extremely supportive, and with the blessing of the government, during the past five years PPIB started from scratch twenty-three projects with a cumulative capacity of 17,513 MW, while twelve projects of 11,538 MW have started construction, and nine projects accumulating to 6920 MW have achieved COD and supplying reliable electricity to the national grid, bringing total number of IPPs commissioned through PPIB to 15,469 MW.

He added that from the current portfolio of projects being processed by PPIB, we target to add another around 1800 MW to the grid by end of this year.