717MW of electricity have been injected into the national grid with the inauguration of the Bhikki Power Plant near Sheikhupura. A steam turbine is expected to be added in November which will bring the total output of the powerplant to 1180MW.
The power plant was launched in 2015 by the government owned Quaid-e-Azam Thermal Power (Pvt.) Limited company, Single cycle operations of the plant began in February 2017, and combined cycle ops are expected to begin at the end of the year. The primary fuel at Bhikki will be re-gasified liquefied natural gas and an estimated 200 million cubic feet will be used per day.
The power produced from the Bhikki plant will be sold under the power purchase agreement signed by Central Power Purchasing Agency Guarantee Limited (CPPA) and Quaid-e-Azam Thermal Power (Pvt) Limited.
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National Bank of Pakistan and Habib Bank Limited carried out the financing of the project on a debt:equity ratio of 75:25. Both these banks were the underwriter for the entire loan amount. An estimated Rs. 65 billion in debt financing was done through syndication of banks including Bank of Punjab, United Bank Limited and Bank Alfalah. The Government of Punjab has provided the entire equity.
According to a news report, the cost of power provided by the Bhikki plant is expected to be less than Rs9 KWh, which will result in the national exchequer saving more than Rs. 8 billion per year.
The construction of Bhikki power plant was carried out by Chinese firm Harbin Electric and the advanced GE 9HA-01 gas turbines and associated equipment was provided by General Electric (GE). “GE has invested almost $2 billion in the development of our HA technology, and our turbine provides a powerful combination of the highest efficiency and superior operational flexibility, leading the industry in total life cycle value,” says Mohammad Ali, President & CEO of GE’s Gas Power Systems – Projects, in the Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan and India.
The Bhikki power plant will help alleviate some of the estimated 7,000MW energy shortfall that Pakistan is currently facing, with urban centers braving between 14 to 16 hours of loadshedding, and rural areas up to 20 hours.