Pakistan is coming under criticism for welcoming Chinese investment into coal-fired power plants as part of a plan to boost capacity. Officials at Pakistan’s Water and Power Ministry have said that Chinese companies are expected to spend around $15 billion over the next 15 years to build around a dozen coal-fired power plants of varying sizes around the country.
Mohammed Younus Dagha, the former Federal Secretary for Water and Power, who became Commerce Secretary at the end of March, said that the coal plants are part of a larger plan. That plan is the $54 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which includes spending about $33 billion on a total of 19 energy projects, including coal-fired and renewable power plants, transmission lines, and other infrastructure.
Dagha said: “Heavy investment under the CPEC project has held out hopes of significantly spiking domestic power generation by around 6000 MW by the end of 2018.”
Combined, the projects will eventually generate 16,000 MW, which the government says is urgently needed. About three-quarters of the newly generated power will come from coal-fired plants. The government insists these will be fitted with the latest technology to reduce pollution and climate-changing emissions.