LAHORE - The GENCO Holding Company Limited (GHCL) is planning to convert its three thermal power stations having accumulative capacity of 2,440 megawatts, based on oil/gas into coal as possible.

Sources in the GHCL confided to APP here Sunday that the Company was putting in order measures to supplement the government’s efforts to increase the inexpensive/low cost component in the energy mix for electricity generation.

Besides increasing the Hydel (cheapest source of power generation)  share, the government is focusing indigenous resources like wind, solar, and coal etc. Pakistan had huge coal reservoirs of about 185 billion tonnes, they said, citing that coal was the economical and long-term solution to prevailing electricity shortage.

They said the GHCL would soon initiate work on conversion project for GENCOs 1, 2 and 3, which included Unit 1 and 2 of 450MW Thermal Power Station at Jamshoro, Sindh; Unit 1 to 6 of 1350MW at Thermal Power Station Muzaffargarh, Punjab and Unit 1 to 4 of 640MW at Thermal Power Station at Guddu, Kashmor district, Sindh.

To a question, the sources said the GHCL would, at first, prepare feasibility report; conduct environmental studies and PC-1 to switch over oil/gas based three GENCOs to coal-fired electricity generation.

The GHCL would soon hire local and foreign consulting firms of international repute and have adequate expertise in coal conversion, coal-fired boiler design and the coal-fired power plant’s operation, they added.

To another query, they said that green cleaner technologies and international standards would obviously be adopted to protect the environment from hazards of coal gasification or combustion.

The sources said that Pakistan was generating its 50 percent electricity requirements from oil and gas, which is the most expensive means to generate power. While, the oil prices surging up in international market, which had ultimately given birth to circular debt, as well as raise the power tariff for consumers, they maintained.

The conversion of the three main GENCOs to coal-fired power generation would resultantly ensure affordable electricity prices  because coal was the permanent cost-effective solution to meet the country’s energy requirements.

To another question, the sources said that cost effectiveness of the coal-fired power generation estimated at Rs 5.67 per unit while furnace oil based electricity generation cost Rs 11.27 per unit.

The sources mentioned that world over, 41 percent of the electricity was  being generated through coal, elaborating that UK produced 16 of electricity from coal; China 67 percent; Canada 24 percent and India

64.6 percent, while Pakistan produced only 2.27 percent.