Cheap Hydel Power Poised to Take Lead in Pakistan’s Energy Mix

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KARACHI (BE2C2 Report) — Two new power plants – Tarbela 4th extension project and Neelum-Jhelum hydroelectric power project – have added nearly 2,400 megawatts to the system this year. A better flow of water in dams had helped the country produce higher electricity from hydel projects.

Since it’s the cheapest (hydroelectric power is not priced more than 4 cents in most jurisdictions in the world) among all sources of power, any incremental production gain in hydro power yields savings in the energy mix which has two imported sources of fuel: oil and LNG. Also, dams provide the much needed water storage country needs.

The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) reported that hydel power plants made the largest contribution to the total electricity production in November at 2,564 gigawatt hours (GWh), which was 16% more than 2,212GWh in the same month last year.

Besides, its share in total power production rose to 34% in Nov 2018 compared to 31% in the corresponding month of last year.

At present, Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) owns 21 hydel power stations with cumulative generation capacity of 9,389 megawatts.

Federal Minister for Petroleum Ghulam Sarwar Khan announced the other day that the government had given priority to producing most of the electricity from hydel sources while production from alternative energy sources (wind, solar and bagasse) had been placed at the second place in the energy mix.

Power production from the cheaper and clean energy source – LNG – has been given third priority, coal fourth and the most expensive furnace oil has been given last place.

Accordingly, the government has minimized production from furnace oil to a nominal which would result in lesser import generating savings in foreign exchange.

Meanwhile, production from gas-fired power plants has surged notably after the previous government set up of mega power plants on imported gas in Punjab and made the second LNG import terminal (Pakistan LNG Terminals Limited) operational. The move allowed additional import of gas (LNG) at a time when the country, particularly its economy, needs cheaper and clean sources of energy.

The focus therefore has shifted on hydro: Khyber Pakthunkhwa Government has proposed seven mega projects for inclusion in CPEC and power evacuation from Chitral to Chakdar through a transmission line that after completion would help arrest energy and water problems.

KP has signed MoU with Chinese companies for construction of these seven gigantic hydropower projects of 1978 MW proposed under CPEC in Chitral, reported APP citing officials in KP energy department.

KP has also completed 255 mini macro hydro-power projects and work on 67 others are in full swing in 12 northern districts of the province to provide inexpensive electricity to people.

Additionally, Chief Justice Saqib Nisar launched Dams fund in July–later Prime Minister Imran Khan joined him in his appeal to overcome the country’s water scarcity problem by building two dams: Diamer and Bhasha.

Construction work on the dams would commence respectively from February and May 2019. Once completed, the project will generate 4500 megawatt of electricity.

About $14 billion is required for the construction of these dams.

1 thought on “Cheap Hydel Power Poised to Take Lead in Pakistan’s Energy Mix

  1. That’s good initiative. Solar power plants in Baluchistan should also be considered. Solar power generation by installing PV panels on the irrigation canals as being done in India is also a viable option.

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