Pakistan faces a year-long electricity crisis which rises over 6000 megawatts. The government planned to bridge the shortfall by building coal-fired power plants with help from foreign investors, especially from China and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
Pakistan also failed to submit Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) before the Paris Agreement. So for in National and International interest, the country needs to monitor coal power projects in Pakistan.
Here is an overview of projects that destroys both the human lives and the environments in Pakistan:
Thar II coal power plant
For Thar II coal power project, the Government of Pakistan requested a $ 820m loan from China Development Bank and Construction Bank of China, at the rate of 3.3 pc and produce electricity at the rate of 9.5 cents per unit. The unit price is high in all South Asian country as well in Pakistan. The power plant is critical in nature and has many environmental issues. A 9 5.5 sp km mining area will create air pollution.
In the construction of this highway, the government is displacing 36 villages, cutting off 60000 trees and spoiling 62 km of agriculture land. In its second phase, Shorkot to Khanewal, a 64 km agricultural land will be destroyed and will affect hundreds of small land owner. This section is co-financed by the ADB and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) the first project of the two banks in Pakistan.
Port Qasim coal power plant
The Pakistan Port Qasim Power Project is a 1,320-megawatt construction that comprises two 606 megawatt supercritical coal power plants, which have been under construction since May of last year (2015) as part of the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The project is destroying a huge coastal area of Pakistan and ‘making land’ for the project in the sea via reclamation. This project is also a threat for the environment as well as the coastal life.
Sahiwal coal power plant
The Sahiwal Coal Power Project is a coal power plant project 15 kilometers (9.3 mi) to the northeast of Sahiwal in Pakistan's Province which is currently under construction, the 1320 MW coal plant is being financed by Chinese banks. The planned project is located on the most agricultural land of Pakistan and is 1,400 km away from the sea and would require the construction of a railway line to transport imported coal for supply.
There are no EIA and Social Impact Assessment (SIA) filed due diligence procedures, in fact, the EIA is the most confidential document of this project.
Water scarcity will become a serious problem as the Plant will use around 23 lac cubic ft irrigation water for its operation. So there is an immense need to advocate for sustainable and environment-friendly projects in Pakistan by China and Other IFI’s.
There is a need to deepen our understanding of Chinese banks and IFI’s policies and relevant governmental decision-makers of projects financed by these banks, and the level of environmental and social impacts and safeguards essential to the sustainable survival of local communities.
Coal-based power plants MUST qualify and should be ADMISSIBLE under the joint implementation and Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) rules and Paris agreement to earn carbon credits.
Written by Asim Nawaz Khan, Umeedenao Citizen Community Board.