ADB financing could add up to 1,000 micro-hydropower plants in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Asian Development Bank

An ambitious Asian Development Bank program could add 1,000 micro-hydropower plants to Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, following the approval of a US$325 million loan announced in November.

ADB said the financing will help enhance energy security by allowing for the construction of off-grid areas. Less than 20% of the population has access to power in some of the province's districts, making the local

"The project will help meet the growing energy demand to fuel economic activities and increase access to sustainable and more reliable electricity services, particularly for vulnerable communities," said Adnan Tareen, Senior Energy Specialist with ADB's Central and West Asia Regional Department.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is one of Pakistan's largest provinces with a population exceeding 28 million -- and one of its poorest -- according to the bank.

In addition to micro-hydro, ADB's funding will also be used to install solar panels on 23,000 schools and 2,500 healthcare facilities in both Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab. The program is part of the bank's commitment to doubling its annual climate change financing to $6 billion for the Asia-Pacific region by 2020. reported in October that the Pakhtunkhwa Energy Development Organization had approved funding for five projects designated as priorities under the Pakistani province's power development program. The country also said earlier this year that it intends to bolster Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's small hydropower program via its Hydel Development Fund, which has a goal of adding 350 plants.

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