K-Electric (KE), the country’s only vertically-integrated power company, planned to install a 900-megawatt of liquefied natural gas (LNG)-based electricity generation plant in place of an outdated oil-run 420MW plant at its Bin Qasim site, a company’s official said.

KE’s project manager, in a statement, said the company planned to replace its existing and old 420MW heavy fuel oil (HFO)-run power generation units with 900MW LNG-based combined cycle power generation units at Bin Qasim power station unit-1 (BQPS-1).

“The proposed new power project will be located within the existing boundary of BQPS-1 and will be titled as BQPS-III,” the manager said at a meeting held as part of the environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) study being conducted for the proposed project.

Global Environmental Management Services (Gems), which is conducting the project’s ESIA study, hosted the meeting. The meeting was held as per the provisions of Sindh Environmental Protection Act 2014.

The official said a power generation unit usually requires seawater for cooling its system, while heated effluent is discharged back into the sea.

“The forthcoming energy project among other beneficial aspects is also expected to reduce the thermal load of the flagship Bin Qasim power plant of K-Electric as LNG-based power project requires less water for efficient working of cooling system as compared to a power unit based on traditional HFO.”

Participants raised their concerns regarding thermal plume and air dispersion of emissions and other wasteful discharges from the proposed power project.

Mohammad Mansha, general manager at Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission, responding to the concerns, said the project’s air dispersion and thermal plume modeling is under process and once the model is finalised, its findings and key observations would duly be documented as part of the ESIA report.

Mansha said due mitigation measures would be recommended according to the study’s findings.

Imran Sabir, deputy director of Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) asked the KE’s management to ensure regular monitoring of the project and its compliance with the SEPA’s regulations during the construction and operational phases.

Sabir appreciated KE’s efforts to produce electricity through such modern means while using efficient fuel resources, which, he said could visibly lessen environmental impact being caused due to various power plants.

An executive at the National Institute of Oceanography called for special care to protect the marine ecology of Arabian Sea and its coastline area situated next to the proposed project’s site.

She said KE should seek approvals from the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority and others to make use of water drained into sea.

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