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First CPEC power transmission project gets under way


LAHORE: The first China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project in the power evacuation and transmission sector, the 660kV High-Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) Matiari-Lahore transmission line, started commercial operations on Wednesday on its scheduled date.

On the first day, the project saved the country from a major breakdown by protecting the transmission, dispatch and distribution systems from a possible cascading effect due to tripping at Jamshoro.

“It is a matter of great importance that the country finally succeeded in having the first and the biggest HVDC transmission line to evacuate 4,000 megawatts from power plants in the south in direct current (DC) mode, transport and transmit it to Lahore after conve­r­ting it into alternate current (AC) mode and finally feed it to the distribution systems in the load centres in Punjab,” National Trans­mi­ssion and Despatch Com­p­any Managing Director Azaz Ahmad explained to Dawn. “With the provision of the HVDC line, there are now meagre chances of blackouts, breakdowns etc due to system constraints since the entire NTDC tran­smission and dispatch system has attained stability.”

He said an example of stability was that the system tripped on Wednesday for a while due to a technical fault in Jamshoro (Sindh), leading to power failure in various service areas of K-Electric and Hyderabad Electric Supply Company. “But this Matiari-Lahore HVDC line helped keep the system stable and saved it from a cascading affect to other parts of the country.”

According to a spokesman, the flagship HVDC line project achieved its commercial operation date (COD) successfully on Wednesday as per the timeline agreed between the NTDC and Pak Matiari-Lahore Transmission Line Company (PMLTC). Prior to its COD, eight power tests on different voltage levels were performed successfully.

“The power tests included commissioning tests (DC station tests) Lahore and Matiari, Mono-pole Low Power System Tests (up to 400MW each pole), Bi-pole Low Power System Tests (up to 800MW bi-pole), Mono-pole High Power Tests (2,200MW each pole), Bi-pole High Power Tests at Maximum Available Power, Special Optional Tests. The last test -- trial operation (168hrs) and Capability Demonstration Test (6hrs) was completed on Aug 18,” he said in a press release.

A COD ceremony was held here at Wapda House attended by NTDC MD Ahmad, PMLTC chief Zhang Lei and others concerned.

“We appreciate the Chinese company for completion of the project on time,” the MD said on the occasion. He said the line would bring stability to the NTDC transmission network.

The 878-kilometre 4,000MW project has been completed by PMLTC (Pvt) Limited on Built-Own-Operate-Transfer basis for 25 years. The project will evacuate power from the new generating units located in the south, including Thar coal projects.

On July 25, 2017, the Economic Coordination Committee had approved the security package documents -- implementation agreement and transmission services agreement – that were subsequently executed on May 14, 2018. The NTDC will be responsible for operation and maintenance of the transmission line.

The HVDC technology is a maiden addition to the national grid though it’s been widely used for a long time around the world. It fulfils the need for long-distance high-power transmission from generating stations in far-flung areas to densely located load centres.

Published in Dawn, September 2nd, 2021


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