BE2C2 Report — Bhikki power plant went into operation Wednesday after 17 months of construction — fastest construction of a gas power plant of its size in Pakistan’s history.
Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif inaugurated the combined-cycle plant located in Sheikhupura district of Punjab province that will operate on imported Liquefied Natural Gas – first of its kind in the country.
The plant is projected to generate up to 1,180 MW – equivalent power needed to supply 2.5 million Pakistani homes – once it starts combined cycle operations later this year.
Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, Governor Punjab Malik Muhammad Rafique Rajwana, Federal Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif were present on the occasion.
The plant will generate electricity at the rate of seven rupee thirty seven paisa per unit, which is the cheapest rate to generate electricity through gas, reported Radio Pakistan.
Built by China’s Harbin Electric International Company Limited (HEI), the plant has two state-of-the-art General Electric’s HA turbines.
GE stated Pakistan is the first country from the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and South Asia region to use an HA turbine.
The first GE turbine (9HA) unit achieved first fire on 13th February, 2017, less than 17 months after the project’s announcement. On Wednesday, the second turbine achieved its first fire and synchronization, said the Press Release from GE.
First fire is a critical test where the gas turbine is switched on and run on fuel at the site, and synchronization refers to when the unit is first connected to the national grid.
The turbine can generate up to 385 megawatts (MW) of reliable power that is expected to be distributed for residential and commercial use within a few days.