Punjab-Sarhad-Northern areas and Kashmir contributing 6595MW hydel power

Apr 05 - 11, 2004

Pakistan has a tremendous hydel potential of more than 40,000 Megawatt (MW). However, only 15 percent of the hydroelectric potential has been harnessed so far. The remaining, untapped potential, if properly exploited, can effectively meet Pakistan's ever-increasing demand for electricity at cost-effective manner.

The current status for hydel power generation of the country indicates that in all the total installed capacity stands at 6595MW mainly contributed by NWFP 3767.2MW, Punjab 1698MW, Azad Jammu Kashmir 1036.1MW and Northern areas 94MW.

It is unfortunate that despite having potential, the province of Sindh and Balochistan contribute nil towards hydel power generation. This indicates lack of interest on the part of the two provinces towards hydel power generation.

Being a water-rich country, Pakistan has ample scope to increase hydel power generation but investment in hydel power generation has been caught up in confusion and paradoxes for more than a decade, and no significant progress has been achieved so far.

To exploit available hydel resource productively, huge investments are necessary, which our economy cannot afford, naturally this calls for foreign investment by offering attractive incentives.

The power policy 2002 offers attractive package to the overseas investors and it facilitates tapping the domestic capital market to raise local financing for power projects.

The main package are international competitive terms, attractive framework for domestic investors, simplification of procedures and steps to create and encourage a domestic corporate debt securities market.

Electric power is a stimulator for the socioeconomic uplift. However, only half of the country's population has access to electricity which, other words indicates the available market for the investors in power generating sector especially hydel power.

In this backdrop, the government of NWFP has established a corporate body known as the Sarhad Hydel Development Organization (SHYDO) for carrying out hydropower prospects and development to act as a utility company for isolated rural population. With the assistance of WAPDA and other organization SHYDO has prepared a Master Plan for the development of hydro-power potential in NWFP.

Accordingly, the Regional Power Development Plan was completed with pertinent technical and financial data of different hydel sites in NWFP. About 150 potential sites with a total capacity of 18698MW were identified on the basis of high, medium and small head. Out of these, 17 projects are in operation, 6 sites are under implementation in the public sector and one site has been offered to the private sector. Mainly, these are run-of-river sites, with some as daily storage projects.

In Punjab, the Punjab Power Development Board was created in the irrigation Department in 1995, for the promotion of hydel power generation on canals, about 324 sites of medium and low head, with a total estimated capacity of 5895MW were identified.

Recently, WAPDA has put the first phase of Ghazi Barotha Hydel projects having a capacity to produce 1450MW as a run-of-river project.

In order to exploit the plentiful hydel resources of Azad Kashmir, the government of AJK has also established AJK Hydro Electric Board (HEB). The AJK HEB successfully completed the 1.6MW Kathal, 2MW Kundel Shahi, 2MW Leepa, and 30.4MW Lagran hydel power projects. Subsequently with the intention of providing a one-window facility and to encourage development of hydro potential in the private sector, the governor Azad Kashmir created the AJK Private Power Cell in 1995. A number of hydel projects with the total capacity of 829 MW are being processed in the private sector.

Numerous promising potential for hydel sites have been identified in the Northern Areas but, due to the absence of high power transmission lines, these sites have not been developed so far. On account of difficult mountainous terrain and the absence of high transmission line system, the Northern Areas are not connected to the National Grid and no project have been undertaken which is responsible for the generation and distribution of electrical power. However, Northern Areas Public Works Department (NAPWD) was established, which is responsible for the generation and distribution of electrical power. NAPWD has constructed various mini hydel power stations in the region and has built 11 KV lines for the transmission of power to consumers. An 18MW Naltar-III Hydro power project is under implementation in public sector. Currently, approximately 40 percent of the local population of Northern Areas has been provided with electrical power.

The Irrigation and Power Department in Sindh is responsible for conducting hydro power activities in the province, and for facilitating and liaison with the concerned agencies. Six potential sites of an estimated capacity of 178MW have been identified with medium and low head at different canals. The hydro power projects identified in Sindh are Nai Gaj Fall, Sukkur, Rohri Canal and Guddu Barrage Projects. These projects have an estimated 178MW capacity. Feasibility reports of these projects have also been completed, however, there is no sign of implementation on these projects.