First ever High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) Transmission Line Project of Pakistan, which will be 878 kilometers long from Matiari to Lahore, has achieved financial closure.This was announced today at a signing ceremony held at the Power Division, graced by the Federal Minister Power Division, Omar Ayub Khan. Secretary Power Division, Irfan Ali and Chinese Deputy Chief of Mission in Pakistan, Lijian Zhao were also present. The documents were signed and exchanged by Managing Director PPIB Shah Jahan Mirza, and Chief Executive Officer of the company Wang Bo along with senior officers from PPIB and the Power Division. This HVDC transmission line project is being developed under the framework of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Agreement, and is another landmark achievement. The project has surfaced as a result of the efforts and facilitation of Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB), Power Division, NTDC and other stakeholders. It is not only the first ever HVDC transmission line project in Pakistan, but also the first private sector transmission lines project facilitated by PPIB under the GoP’s Policy Framework for Private Sector Transmission Line Projects 2015. China Electric Power Equipment & Technology Co. Ltd (CET) which is subsidiary of State Grid of Corporation of China (SGCC) is the main sponsor of the Project. The company is responsible for execution of the Project through formation of a Special Purpose Company, i.e. Pak Matiari-Lahore Transmission Company (Pvt.) Ltd. (PMLTC). Spread over 878 km, the capability of this transmission line will be 4000 MW at ±660 kV voltage capacity. The Project is designed to have bi-pole HVDC technology, having two converter stations, one each at the ends of Matiari (Interior Sindh) and Lahore, three repeater stations and two grounding electrode stations.PPIB issued Letter of Support (LOS) for the Project to PMLTC on 4th August 2017 and National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) granted Special Purpose Transmission License to PMLTC for the Project on 18th February 2018. The Project Agreements i.e. Implementation Agreement (IA), Transmission Services Agreement (TSA), Land Lease and Right of Way Agreement (LLA), Implementation Agreement and Guarantee Direct Agreement (DIA), TSA Direct Agreement (TSADA) etc. have already been signed by the respective entities. The Project entails an investment of US$ 1.658 Billion. After fulfilling mandatory prerequisites and completion of all financing arrangements, the Project has successfully achieved Financial Close. The Project which is scheduled to achieve Commercial Operations by March 2021, would be executed on Build-Own-Operate-Transfer (BOOT) basis, and will be transferred to NTDC after a term of 25 Years. This transmission facility will primarily be utilized to transmit power generated from indigenous Thar coal based power generation projects. It will be enhancing the share of indigenous fuel based generation and saving significant amount of foreign exchange.With the medium and long terms plans of power induction into the national grid, it is important that the power transmission infrastructure is made available to transport the electricity from the power generation facilities to the load centres. PPIB is playing vital role in private sector resource mobilization for large power generation and transmission infrastructure projects. The Matiari-Lahore HVDC transmission project is one such example. It is anticipated that this Project will further pave the way for implementation of future transmission line projects through private sector. In addition to this HVDC project, PPIB is currently facilitating implementation of power projects having cumulative capacity of 10,934 MW under CPEC Agreement, which includes various hydel and coal based projects.The Minister while talking to media congratulated both PPIB and Chinese company for achieving this milestone and briefly informed about the benefits of the project. He said that the government is focusing on energy security and power generation from indigenous resources. Currently, 60 % electricity is being generated through oil and gas and we have planned the change the energy mix and to generate 30 % from renewable resources in 2030.The generation capacity in 2030 will reach 55,000 MW and 18,000 MW will be generated through renewable resources.Lijian Zhao, Chinese Deputy Chief of Mission in Pakistan appreciated the project and said that the sponsor company is well experienced and capable to complete this very important CPEC project. The project is expected to create 6,000 jobs. He thanked all the stakeholders for facilitating and extending full cooperation for the project.Published in Daily Times, February 28th 2019.