INCREASING POWER REQUIREMENTS OF GWADAR PORT CITY

SYED FAZL-E-HAIDER
July 16 - 22, 2007

Gwadar port project is currently in the second phase of its development. The port is being built by a Chinese firm and operated by Port of Singapore Authority (PSA) International that will run it for 40 years. The initiatives like establishment of Free Trade Zone and 40-year corporate tax-exemption to port operators, taken by Islamabad reflect its plan to develop Gwadar on lines of Jabel-I-Ali free port of Dubai. The expected surge in commercial, trade and economic activities is likely to enhance the energy requirements of the area by the passage of time.

Gwadar will need enough electricity to meet the demands of its future commercial and industrial estates. The port authorities had reportedly asked the federal government to manage gas and electricity requirements especially for the proposed hotels, restaurants, gas stations, and other development projects in the area. The district Gwadar includes four tehsils- Gwadar, Pasni, Ormara and Jiwani. Geographically, the coastal belt of Balochistan stretches for over 770 km - from the mouth of Hub River near Karachi right up to Gwadar Bay near Chahbahar port in southwestern Iran. Chahbahar is the closest Iranian port to the Indian Ocean and is likely to be the Gwadar's strong competitor.

This February, an agreement was signed with Iranian company Tavanir under which Pakistan will buy 100-megawatt power from Iran for Gwadar deep-sea port in Balochistan. Under the deal, Iran will supply100-megawatt power to Gwadar port from January 2009 through a 170-km long 220 KV double circuit transmission line between 220 KV Polan sub station at Iran side and 220 KV Gwadar sub-station. A 100-km long line will be constructed in Pakistan and remaining 70 km in Iran.

The total cost of the project is 86 million dollars, out of which 26 million dollars will be borne by M/s Tavanir and is included in the tariff, which is 6.25 cent, applicable from December 31, 2008, whereas the remaining 60 million dollars will be borne by Pakistan. The tariff for one year has been fixed at 6.25 cent per unit and it will be reviewed after one year. The import of power can be enhanced up to around 400 MW to meet the future requirement of Gwadar as well as the coastal areas of Balochistan.

Tavanir is the state-controlled power generation, transmission and distribution company that manages Iran's electricity sector. It has the capacity to generate a total of 36000 megawatts. The company's capital of worth 10 million Riyals is divided into 1000 registered shares each of worth 10. Riyals and 100 per cent of the shares belong to the Iranian government. Given the growth in power consumption, the company plans to double power generation capacity to 70,000 megawatts within the next 10 years.

Gwadar is likely to emerge as attractive tourist destination for its beautiful pristine beaches, sea life, large open spaces and its proximity to the Gulf. The beaches in Gwadar area can be developed and utilized by the tourist industry. For the promotion of tourism, the government has planned to establish hotels, motels, playground, boating club, theme parks, and other recreation projects. With the development of Gwadar port, the hotel industry will grow at a faster pace, providing residential and recreational facilities to foreign tourists, business tycoons and representatives of multinational firms and companies in Gwadar. Pakistan had reportedly requested Tehran to supply 2700 MW more electricity to meet the power requirement of the future port city of Gwadar.

A grid station is under construction in Gwadar as a part of government's long-term strategy. Moreover, 132 KV transmission line from Pasni/Turbat is being extended to Gwadar at a cost of Rs360 million. Eventually, Gwadar will be linked to the national grid as soon as the demand grows for power consumption. The Oman government had given a grant of $100 million to be paid in five years, out of which, electricity generators for the Gwadar port have already arrived.

Presently, 35 MW power is being imported from Iran through Mand interconnection on 132 KV, Tuftan 2 MW on 20 KV and Mashkehl 2 MW on 20 KV. A small power station at Gwadar is already operational, which is meeting the present demand of 4 MW. The future demand for electricity will be higher and may increase, according to an estimate, from 14MW in the year 2010 to 74 MW in 2030 and 370 MW in 2050. According to the official plans, the future port city of Gwadar will have power supply from three sources- Pasni Power House, Panjgur Power Plant and Iran.

The Pasni powerhouse was supposed to cater to the power needs of entire coastal region. It had the capacity of generating 40 megawatts, but its generators incurred faults and were in dire need of repair. The Musharraf government had rehabilitated the Pasni Power House ensuring power supply to some parts of Mekran. The Quetta Electric Supply Company (QESCO) also planned to take the power transmission line from Pasni Powerhouse to Gwadar.

The QESCO started supplying electricity to the Balochistan coastal areas of Mekran after getting supply from the Iranian power transmission line system on September 8, 2003. The QESCO had constructed the power transmission lines and finally connected it with Iranian grid system. It spent Rs138 million on building the power transmission system. Iran is supplying electricity through its 132KV line. With the supply of power from Iran, the QESCO made a saving of Rs700 million that it had previously been spending to operate the gas turbine for power generation. According to an estimate, Mekran needed 17.5 Megawatt of electricity. Iran committed to supply 30 MW, so the additional power supply would be used by the industrialists and farmers.

According to the some experts, the renewable resources of generating electric power are highly desirable in Gwadar to overcome the acute power shortage. Balochistan coast is fit for generating power from wind; as wind speed of 10 meters per second is available along its coast, which is needed for generating power. The coastal areas like Gwadar provide good conditions and climate for the installation and working of the wind turbines. The wind power stations may control the power shortage problems and help provide educational and entertainment services through TV sets. According to the experts, a wind turbine of 100-megawatt power could be set up by an investment of $50 million with no concurrent cost. Wind mapping is however needed for the use of wind for power generation.