Pakistan secures funding for controversial coal-fired power plant in Gwadar

The Pakistan government has secured financing for a 300 MW coal-fired power plant in the port city of Gwadar, triggering a debate on the country’s energy sector. The plant will be constructed and funded by Chinese state-owned entities and has raised fresh questions about China’s pledge not to build new coal power plants overseas, which was made at the UN General Assembly in 2021. The Gwadar coal power plant was first conceived in 2016, with an estimated cost of USD 542.32m, and is to be constructed by the Chinese company CIHC Pak Power, a subsidiary of the state-owned China Communications and Construction Group. The plant will supply power to the industries being set up at the Gwadar Free Zone, a special economic zone at Gwadar port that forms part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. However, environmentalists argue that the plant will cause air and water pollution and increase carbon emissions. Pakistan’s energy sector is dominated by fossil fuels, with just under 60% of total installed generation capacity using fossil fuels, including gas, oil and coal, and just 3% coming from non-hydropower renewables. Pakistan’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement targets 60% renewable energy generation by 2030, including hydropower.

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