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KESC’s 560MW combined cycle power plant starts production

The newly-built, state-of-the-art combined cycle power plant of Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC), having the maximum power generation capacity of 560 megawatts started power generation on Monday and was expected to optimum generation capacity within the next 24 hours, officials said.

The Bin Qasim Power Station II (BQPS-II) was completed at a cost of $450 million in record three-year period and with its completion and start of power production, the indigenous power generation capacity of the utility stands at over 2,000MW.

The power plant has three gas-powered turbines, each having the power generation capacity of producing 125MW electricity, while a steam turbine that would be powered from the heat generated from gas turbine, would add around 185MW to the power generation capacity of the plant, the KESC officials told newsmen during a visit to the power plant.

The power-stricken residents of Karachi, however, were unlikely to get any respite from the daily loadshedding of eight-nine hours after KESC claimed that they had diverted gas from other ‘inefficient’ power plants to the newly-built one, which means that KESC’s overall power generation almost remains the same.

“Currently, we are getting 200mmcfd gas and for the newly-built combined cycle power plant, we need an additional 130mmcfd gas so that we could produce electricity up to our maximum capacity,” Arshad Zahidi, power utility’s director generation and transmission, told a news briefing at the site of the newly-built power plant.

Zahidi termed the completion and start of power production by the BQPS-II a milestone in the power generation in the country and said they were proud of the facility that was completed within a record period of time.

The KESC official, however, claimed that the power utility is not getting adequate gas volume to run the newly-built power plant as promised by the government at the time of signing an implementation agreement with the KESC’s management.

“We have diverted the gas supplied to our other power plants, Bin Qasim-I and other gas turbines to run this plant as it was more efficient than the old ones,” he added.

This means that commissioning of the newly-constructed combined cycle power plant made no affect on the overall power generation capacity of the KESC and citizens would have to continue enduring eight-nine hours of daily outages.

The KESC official claimed that the Abraaj Capital, after taking over KESC in 2008, increased the power generation capacity of the utility from 1,376MW to 2,052MW in 2012 by investing millions of dollars.

In addition, the new KESC management improved the existing fleet’s efficiency, added eight new grid stations, increased 32 kilometre-long transmission network, while it was also working to establish two more grid stations, he added. Zahidi also claimed that the KESC’s management also brought down the line losses of the power utility that were 4.19 percent in 2008 and now stood at 1.45 percent.

Responding to a question, he said, the KESC’s management is aware of the issues associated with the gas availability in the country and keeping that in view, it had almost completed the feasibility of converting two of its 210MW plants on coal and hopefully in the years to come, 420MW would be produced with coal.

The KESC official appealed the government to provide adequate gas to the power sector instead of providing it to individual industries for power generation and the fertiliser sector so that domestic and industrial demands of the electricity could be effectively met.

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