KARACHI: Keeping in view the strategic importance of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the anticipated rapid growth therein, the Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) for the is geared up to set up a 300 MW imported coal-fired power project in Gwadar. In a recent development, the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) has admitted the application of China Communications Construction Company Limited (CCCC) for consideration of grant of generation licence for its proposed 300MW imported coal-fired power project in Gwadar.Currently, Gwadar depends on approximately 70MW of imported power from Iran. Of this 70MW, approximately 14MW is allocated to Gwadar, while the Makran coastal region utilises the remaining 56 MW. The project is intended to not only meet the current demand for power in Gwadar and adjoining areas, but will also support future demand growth, said the sponsors. Moreover, there is no interconnection point in or close to Gwadar for the national grid. Instead there is a relatively independent grid that connects Gwadar, Turbat, Panjgur and Pasni. Further construction is underway to connect Pasni to the Orrnara Naval Base. The limited power supply coupled with an inefficient distribution system results in daily power outages of 12 hours in cities and 16 hours in rural areas. The project will not only supply power to the Gwadar area, but also the Makran coastal region, which will be significant for relieving the supply shortage in that part of Balochistan, said the CCCC.Earlier this year, the Pakistan Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB) had issued a Letter of Interest (LOI) to the CCCC. The project envisages setting up of a 300MW (Gross), pulverized-coal-fired power plant with a net capacity of 272.1MW in Gwadar. Power will be sold to the Central Power Purchasing Agency (Guarantee) Limited (CPPA-G) under a 30-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) on a “Take or Pay” basis and will be evacuated through a 220kV transmission line to be built by the National Transmission & Despatch Company Limited (NTDC’).The total cost for the project is approximated $492.94 million, which is expected to be financed in a debt to equity ratio of 75:25. The CCCC is the main sponsor of the project and will hold 75.5 percent equity in the project, while the remaining 24.5 percent equity will be invested by Tianjin Energy Investment Group Company Limited. The project will be located within the jurisdiction of the Gwadar Development Authority (GDA) near the Sur Bundar area and will require a total of 330 acres, which the sponsors will acquire with the assistance of the Balochistan government.Historically, Pakistan has relied on hydropower generation to meet its electricity demands, as the ratio of hydro to thermal installed generation capacity in the country in 1985 was about 67 percent to 33 percent. However, with the passage of time, the energy mix has shifted towards thermal power generation, which now generates approximately 65 percent of total power produced in the country.