x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

230MW power-plant ship to ease Pakistan's electricity crisis

The world's largest ship-based power plant is now off the coast of Karachi, where it will help out with the country's chronic shortage of electricity.

ISLAMABAD // The world's largest ship-based power plant has arrived off the Pakistani coast to try to mitigate the country's chronic electricity shortages, a company official said Friday.

The new supply still will not come close to ending electricity shortages that plague Pakistan, increasing widespread public frustration with the U.S.-allied government as it struggles to contain the Taliban insurgency.

The ship, which burns furnace oil, will generate about 230 megawatts for the national power grid, said Asad Mahmood, a spokesman for the vessel's Turkish owner, Karkey Karadeniz Electrik. The owner has a five-year contract with the Pakistani national power company.

The  Kaya Bey, now anchored off the southern port city Karachi, will begin feeding into the national grid within four weeks after a dedication ceremony on Sunday, Mr Mahmood said.

However, the ship's contribution will only make a dent in the overall power crisis. Pakistan's energy demands outstrip supply by an estimated 5,000MW, thanks to lack of investment, soaring usage and a crumbling electricity generation infrastructure that heavily relies on hydropower.

Power outages last up to 16 hours per day in some areas and damage industrial growth. The suffering is worst in summer, when the temperatures soar but power cuts mean fans and air conditioners will not work.