Of the total 20 power generation projects in all the provinces of Pakistan and AJK under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, five are being executed in the Punjab.

The province will receive more than $10.50 billion for the electricity projects from the Chinese government’s proposed investment of around $33.45 billion in Pakistan’s energy sector. The national grid will be strengthened with around 16,700MW of electricity after the completion of the projects with Punjab’s proposed share in energy basket is set to be more than 5,700MW—one third of the total proposed electricity generation projects under CPEC.

Since Pakistan has been facing more than 40 percent gap in electricity demand and generation -- demand in peak summer 24,000MW against power generation of less than 16,00MW -- the government, considering the electricity need of the consumers, has divided the energy projects into two categories: CPEC-Energy Priority Projects of around 10,000MW with completion dates in 2017 and 2018 and CPEC-Energy Actively Promoted Projects of around 6,700MW with completion dates in 2019, 2020 and onwards. Among Punjab’s five projects, four fall in “build on priority basis” category and likely to be operational till the end of next year, according to the government claims. However, some officials in background discussions fear the projects might hit delays as the work is in progress on only two of the five ventures.

The energy generation projects which are being proposed for construction at different locations in Punjab are: Sahiwal Coal-fired Power Plant of 1,320MW, Rahim Yar Khan Coal Power Project of 1,320MW, Quaid-i-Azam Solar Park Bahawalpur of 1,000MW, Karot Hydropowr Station of 720MW and Muzaffargarh Coal Power Project of 1,320MW.

Except from the said power generation ventures, the Chinese government has agreed to construct a gas power plant of 525MW in Pakistan with an estimated cost of $550 million. Although the site for construction of the gas plant has yet to be decided, it is most likely the project to be built in Punjab. The construction of Matiari to Lahore Transmission Line and Matiari to Faisalabad Transmission Line to interlink, strength and develop the country’s electricity transmission system with mighty $3 billion (cost for construction of each transmission line is $1.5 billion) is also part of CPEC-Energy priority projects.

Sahiwal Coal-fired Power Plant is located in Qadirabad, a village near Sahiwal. The project is being built with an estimated cost of $1.6 billion and it will share 1,320MW in energy basket after completion. The first unit of the plant (660MW) is all set to be operational before the deadline in June 2017. Huaneng Shandong Rui Group of China is the project executing agency while Punjab Power Development Board supervises the work. Since the plant will run on imported coal, the first consignment of 43,999 tonnes of coal imported from South Africa for the trial operations of the plant was unloaded at Port Qasim a week earlier. The early arrival of the shipment for the power plant indicates that the government seems to be in a hurry to make the plant operational even before June.

Coal Power Plant of Rahimyar Khan and Muzaffargarh with each capacity of 1,320MW and combine investment of $3.2 billion are supervised by the Punjab Power Development Board. The feasibility study of Rahim Yar Khan plant is in progress and its executing agencies are Shanghai Electric Power Generation, China Machinary Engineering and Nishat Power Company. The government is in a decision process to choose the executing agency to build the Muzaffargarh plant.

A public-sector company was established by the Government of the Punjab with estimated investment of $1.35 billion from China. Hanenergy and QA Solar Power Company are the main sponsors of the Quaid-i-Azam Solar Park Bahawalpur. The first 100 MW were commissioned in May 2015, and were completed by Tebian Electric Apparatus, a subsidiary of Xinjiang SunOasis. The remaining 900 MW capacity will be installed by Zonergy under the CPEC. Carbon emissions are expected to be 90,750 tonnes less than if the 1,000 MW of electricity were generated by conventional fossil fuel sources. Another 300 MW will be connected to the national grid before end of 2017.

Karot Hydropower Station, AJK and Punjab with installed capacity of 720MW will be built on River Jehlum with an estimated cost of $1.4 billion. SMEC (Australia), China Three Gorges Corporation and M Technology are the executing agencies for the project which is located on joint area of AJK and Punjab. Land acquisition for the project which would be operational in 2020 is at advanced stage. Private Power and Infrastructure Board is supervising the project work.