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China Daily / 2021-05 / 21 / Page016

PowerChina's expertise boosts Pakistan's local economy

By YUAN SHENGGAO | China Daily | Updated: 2021-05-21 00:00

PowerChina, one of the global leading infrastructure project constructors, has become a major force in supporting economic, industrial and social development in Pakistan under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor initiatives.

Since debuting in Pakistan in 1987, PowerChina has become well-known for its expertise in hydropower and coal-fired power projects planning. The enterprise is also famous for design and construction, as well as investment and operations in regional markets.

It has completed 45 projects dedicated to industries such as power generation and water supply, with a total of $6 billion in contract value. Construction of 43 projects with a combined contract value of $6.4 billion is ongoing, according to the company. Some projects, including the Port Qasim coal-fired power plant project, have won awards from both the Chinese and Pakistan governments for excellence in environmental protection and contribution to the local economy.

Funded by PowerChina and Al Mirqab Capital from Qatar, the Port Qasim coal-fired power plant project was put into commercial use in April 2018. It is one of Power-China's largest investment projects in overseas markets and among the first batch of power generation plant projects put into use under the CPEC, according to the company.

In 2020, total power generated by the plant hit a record of 8.9 billion kilowatt-hours amid the outbreak of COVID-19. It has been of great importance in stabilizing the economy, supporting business resumptions and helping the country reduce electricity prices.

Over the past three years, the total electricity generated by the plant amounted to more than 27 billion kWh, accounting for 8 percent of the total supply of Pakistan's state grid.

The power plant consists of two advanced supercritical coal-fired generators that meet the World Bank's environmental protection standards and is one of the most environmentally friendly coal-fired generators in the world. It uses desalinated seawater in production to reduce freshwater consumption. So far, it has reduced water consumption by 7.5 million metric tons since being put into operation. At the same time, operators have planted 50.58 hectares of mangroves to effectively protect the surrounding ecological environment.

The power plant, with the largest production capacity and lowest electricity price in the country, has become a benchmark project under the CPEC. It plays an irreplaceable role in helping Pakistan overcome power shortages while optimizing the country's energy structure.

The Port Qasim coal-fired power plant also shoulders social responsibilities in supporting healthcare, education and employment while promoting cultural exchanges in Pakistan.

The power plant has created close partnerships with local companies and shared advanced engineering technologies and management experiences with Pakistan companies. It strongly supported Pakistan's state grid construction by providing funds, equipment and technologies.

The power plant has been making efforts to become more localized. The plant, which provides more than 600 full-time jobs, gives priority to local people at the time of recruitment. It also offers internship programs to local university students to enhance their job-seeking skills. In 2020, the power plant hosted a variety of online recruiting fairs to provide solid support to people in need.

Supporting local talent cultivation is another attempt by Power-China to help Pakistan consolidate its industrial development foundation. The Port Qasim coal-fired power plant has a talent training program to get all new staff familiar with their new roles. Of the 150 Pakistan university graduates who work at the power plant, 100 had received free trainings in power plants in China, according to PowerChina. Some of those graduates have become leading professionals in the country's coal-fired power generation field and have been assigned to key management positions.

PowerChina has worked to lift local people from poverty and contribute to improving healthcare conditions in Pakistan. In the fight against COVID-19, the Port Qasim coal-fired power plant donated medical supplies and provided financial support to Pakistan's governments and some organizations. It also arranged donations to help local residents in the fight against natural disasters, such as floods, during the past few years.

PowerChina respects the local tradition and religious activities of Pakistan's people. Religious facilities such as prayer rooms are available in the power plant. Greetings will also be extended to Pakistan staff during religious festivals.

PowerChina has made efforts to promote cultural exchanges among people from different countries. For instance, Pakistani employees are invited to take part in traditional Chinese festivals like the Spring Festival and Lantern Festival.

PowerChina also has accounts on social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, to tell stories about Chinese companies to the outside world. It released a report on the company's sustainable development in Islamabad, Pakistan, in November 2019, which was the first report of its kind released by a Chinese enterprise in the country. A forum attended by think tanks from China and Pakistan in 2019 attracted great attention from government officials, industrial associations and the media.

Looking ahead, PowerChina will continue to support the CPEC and contribute to prosperity in Pakistan.


Clockwise from top: The Port Qasim coal-fired power plant in Pakistan, which started commercial operation in April 2018, is one of PowerChina's largest investment projects in overseas markets. Employees of the Port Qasim coal-fired power plant perform their duties amid the pandemic in 2020. Operators of the Port Qasim coal-fired power plant have planted 50.58 hectares of mangroves to effectively protect the surrounding ecological environment. CHINA DAILY



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