Pakistan to increase domestic energy production using hydropower

AJ&K

According to a press release from the government of Pakistan, “In order to make electricity affordable, Pakistan has decided to replace imported fuels with indigenous resources like hydropower and coal [from the Thar coalfield in the Thar Desert, in the district of Tharparkar in Sindh province], and to focus on arranging additional megawatts to bridge the demand-supply gap through these resources.”

Pakistan’s Minister for Water and Power, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, on Oct. 4 during the 107th meeting of the Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB) held in Islamabad, said Pakistan is focused on producing enough power to bridge the demand between available power supply and demand.

During the meeting, the PPIB “approved issuance of Letter of Interest to two hydropower projects, which were presented before the PPIB after evaluation of proposals by the independent consultant” that include:

  • The 350-MW Athmuqam hydropower project at Neelum River, in the district of Neelum, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, to a consortium led by Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co Ltd.; and
  • The 58-MW Turtonas-Uzghor hydropower project at Golen Gol River, in the district of Chitral to the consortium of China’s Sinohydro Corp. Ltd. and Pakistan-based Sachal Engineering Works Private Ltd.

Under Pakistan’s 2015 Power Generation Policy, PPIB also approved the solicitation of proposals for two additional private sector hydropower projects that include: The 197-MW Kalam-Asrit and 101-MW Gabral-Kalam located in the district of Swat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

PPIB Managing Director, Shah Jahan Mirza, gave a briefing on the current status of various ongoing power generation projects being handled by the PPIB with particular emphasis on projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The CPEC is a 3,000-km-long network of roads, railways and energy infrastructure to assist economic and social development in Pakistan and boost growth along the 523-km-long boarder between China and Pakistan.

Details are not immediately available how finances will be handeled, but the release also states Mirza said project investors “are being facilitated to meet their commercial operation dates by 2017-18.”

During the meeting, the board also endorsed signing the implementation agreement and supplemental agreement to the 720-MW Karot hydropower project.

According to the release, Asif appreciated the contribution of the private sector in developing Pakistan’s power sector and reiterated that “the current government is focused on tackling electricity crisis with affordable means to provide real benefit to the nation.”

In its current situation, the role of the CPEC is vital as additional power will be available by 2018, which according to the press release will bring an end to the long-lasting electricity crisis in the country.

Currently under the CPEC initiative, the PPIB is facilitating nine projects of over 9,000 MW via a variety of fuel sources including hydropower, coal and liquefied natural gas.

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