Despite significant improvements, the energy sector’s performance in Pakistan is far from satisfactory and several problems remain unresolved. Total power demand was about 26.000 MW at peak hours in 2015, but due to aging equipment only about 20.000 MW is available, leading to a peak shortfall of some 6.000 MW. The sector has managed to improve supply but summertime load shedding affects most of the urban areas over six hours per day and eight hours in rural areas.
Awarded two projects
Just before the start of the Norwegian summer vacation, an e-mail dropped into the inbox of Senior Advisor David Wright in Multiconsult from KfW, the German Development Bank. The proposal for the environmental and social assessment of two major electricity substations and their associated transmission lines was successful and Multiconsult were invited to contract negotiations.
The proposal was submitted in April in a team effort between the Hydrology and Water Resources and the Natural Resources sections in Multiconsult’s Water Resources, Dams and Environment Department, together with our local consultant BARQAAB. Online contract negotiations with KfW in Frankfurt were relatively straightforward. The contract was signed in early September and contains not one but two projects:
1. Preparation of a supplemental Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) based on final review of existing environment and social documents for Gharo substation and the associated transmission lines project; Gharo substation receives power from a large wind farm corridor and from private investment solar generation in Thatta district, Sindh Province.
The National Transmission and Distribution Company (NTDC) and the Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (HESCO) are developing a comprehensive network of substations and transmission lines to connect the various windfarms to be installed at the Gharo-Jhimpir Wind Corridor in Sindh Province of Pakistan and evacuate the generated electricity to the national grid system.
2. Preparation of a full ESIA of the 500/220/132 kV Chakwal Substation project and feeder transmission lines in in Chakwal district, Punjab Province. Chakwal receives power from Tarbela hydroelectric project.
NTDC in support of the energy sector reform, assisted by World Bank and other donor countries and institutions, will implement the National Transmission Modernization Phase-I Project to improve reliability and efficiency of the national transmission system in Pakistan. KfW will assist NTDC in the funding of the implementation of the 500/220/132 kV Chakwal Substation and connection lines including the associated 132 kV transmission lines to evacuate power towards the regional distribution company IESCO.
Many challenges for the electricity supply in Pakistan
The government has developed an action plan to implement the National Power Policy over the next three to five years. The action plan ties together the policies and actions required to implement the 2013 National Power Policy which has five main targets:
- Decrease the gap between supply and demand
- Improve affordability by decreasing cost of generation
- Decrease aggregate technical and commercial transmission and distribution losses
- Improve collection of billed electricity (collections are currently only about 85 percent of billing)
- Improve decision-making times in Ministries, related departments and regulators
The strategies are closely interlinked. Aging and overloaded transmission and distribution systems suffer technical losses and are unreliable; leading to frequent unscheduled outages and shortages of electricity.
The Gharo and Chakwal projects represent a major contribution to achieving several of these goals and it is Multiconsult’s job to ensure that the substations and transmission lines are planned and implemented in a sustainable way and in accordance with national and World Bank standards.
The combined project team from Multiconsult and BARQAAB was mobilised in October and the work is to be completed in early 2019. Jørn Stave, Jens Laugen and David A. Wright are Multiconsult’s Key Experts on the project and carried out the first field reconnaissance work together with BARQAAB’ S project team.