Chinese President Xi Jinping is set to unveil a $46 billion infrastructure spending plan in Pakistan that is a centerpiece of Beijing’s ambitions to open new trade and transport routes across Asia and challenge the U.S. as the dominant regional power. The largest part of the project would provide electricity to energy-starved Pakistan, based mostly on building new coal-fired power plants. —Jeremy Page, The Wall Street Journal, 19 Aril 2015
The US government has stepped up pressure on the World Bank not to fund coal-fired power plants in developing countries. In a letter sent to the World Bank United States Executive Director Whitney Debevoise said, “The Obama Administration believes that the Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) have a potentially critical role to play in the future international framework for climate finance, and, in particular, to assist developing countries in mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and strengthening their economies’ resilience to climate risks.” Following Debevoise’s controversial guidelines, the axe has already fallen on Pakistan’s Thar Coal and Energy Project on the grounds that “the limited financing available from the Bank should be directed toward investments that address energy supply shortfalls in an environmentally sustainable manner’’. —Swati Mather, The Times of India, 24 January 2010
Out of the total $45 billion investment in Pakistan, China will invest up to $37 billion in various energy projects while give $8 billion concessional loan for infrastructure development projects of Pak-China Economic Corridor project. He said that the energy projects with Chinese support would generate a total of 16,500MW electricity, adding the work on 10,400 MW projects would be completed by 2018 in the first phase. While projects of 60,00MW will be completed in the second phase, he added. In Thar, Ahsan said that 10 coal-based power plants will be installed on commercial basis which will generate up to 6,600MW electricity from coal. —Business Recorder, 18 April 2015
A new era of development is set to dawn on the underdeveloped interior Sindh, specially Tharparkar, as inclusion of Thar Coal mining and power project in the prioritised energy schemes under the multi-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will help overcome financial challenges being faced by it. This venture will open not only unprecedented economic opportunities but also prove to be a panacea for energy shortages that are stifling economic growth. —Associated Press of Pakistan, 19 April 2015
India is hoping a new China-backed multilateral lender will fund coal-based energy projects, an official said, putting it in direct conflict with the World Bank, whose chief has maintained that it would stick to its restrictions on such lending. A senior Indian official told Reuters the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), sponsored by China, is expected to allow funding of coal-fired power plants that the World Bank has almost totally blocked. “When you have 1.3 billion people starved of electricity access and the rest of the world has created a carbon space, at this point denying funding is denying access to cheap energy,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. —Manoj Kumar and Tony Munroe, Reuters, Reuters, 5 November 2014
The Geological survey of Pakistan reveals that 175 billion ton of coal is buried under the Thar Desert. These coal reserves alone are equivalent to total combined oil reserves (375 Billion Barrels) of Saudi Arabia and Iran. The coal deposits in Thar can change the fate of the country if utilised in a proper way. The coal reserves at Thar Desert are estimated around 850 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of gas, and are worth USD 25 trillion. According to experts, if this single resource is used properly, we not only can cater to the electricity requirements of the country for next 300 years but also save almost four billion dollars in staggering oil import bills. —M Rafaqat Hussain, Pakistan Observer, 26 July 2014
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