by Ali Jaswal, Wang Huan, Zhu Xiaoguang
ISLAMABAD/JINAN, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- Muhammad Talha is one of 11 Pakistani engineers who have recently attended a technical training program in China's State Grid technical college of Tai'an city in east China's Shandong province.
Talha is serving as a supervisor of a converter station at ±660kV Matiari-Lahore high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission project under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The training program focused on skill development as well as exploring Chinese culture and society.
"I am really happy in China with my team for our training. It has been a great experience for me to embrace Chinese culture and of course, learn technical knowledge from the best professionals at the college," he told Xinhua recently while expressing excitement about his first trip to China.
The training program, which started in October, comprised around 47 professional courses, including converter station equipment inspection, direct current power adjustment, and operation and maintenance of converter station, in order to help them enhance techniques of HVDC operation at Matiari-Lahore project.
This was Pakistan's first HVDC transmission project funded, constructed and operated by the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) under the CPEC framework. The project was officially put into commercial operation in September 2021. It has the maximum capacity to transmit electricity of 35 billion kilowatt-hours annually.
"With the help of Chinese technology and equipment in this project, power loss of the 886 km-long transmission line has been reduced greatly," said Talha.
As the Karot Hydropower project, Thar Coal Block-I Coal Electricity Integration project and some other power projects under the CPEC have become operational, the Matiari-Lahore HVDC project is now playing a more critical role and is going to take on a large proportion of Pakistan's transmission capacity from south to north, he added.
Besides the hectic technical training, the participants have also visited some ultra-high voltage (UHV) converter stations in cities including Qingdao, Jinan and Linyi in the province, providing them with the opportunity to closely learn about the world-leading Chinese UHV technology.
"I visited Yinan converter station in Linyi city and Shandong provincial dispatch center. I have realized that China's power construction achievements are very impressive, and Pakistan can learn a lot from China," said Talha.
Rana Shaheer Mehmood, a supervisor of the converter station of the project, said that the technical learning, especially through this program, allowed Pakistani engineers to gain not only knowledge but also experience that China has had in the field of HVDC.
"With continued cooperation, the CPEC is going to further strengthen the deep-bonded relationship of the two countries and would open the door for a brighter future for Pakistan," he said.
Liu Hao, a lecturer in the training program and also a member of the first batch of operation and maintenance personnel at the project, said that since June 2020, the SGCC has trained more than 120 technical personnel of direct current transmission for Pakistan through online or on-site training.
He added that Pakistani engineers have been able to independently undertake around 173 types of HVDC transmission operations, becoming a major force for operation and maintenance at the project.
Launched in 2013, the CPEC, a flagship project of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, is a corridor linking the Gwadar port in southwestern Pakistan with Kashgar in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, which highlights energy, transport and industrial cooperation and now entering a new stage of high-quality development, expanding cooperation in science and technology, agriculture and people's livelihood.
"I see the CPEC a significant and promising venture for China and Pakistan, and it holds the potential to boost economic development, job creation, and enhance connectivity in the region," said Talha, pledging that he will use his knowledge in work and train other Pakistani engineers for better operation of the grid in the country. ■