Article Republished By Javier Troconis
Pakistan’s first Hydel power generation project – Karot Hydropower – under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) connected unit one to the national grid on 30 April, kick-starting the operations at full capacity, reported Developing Pakistan, a Pakistan based digital media platform. By connecting unit one of the Karot Hydropower, the project pumps 180 MW of electricity into the national grid. Karot Hydropower Project is a 720 MW constructed on river Jhelum, Pakistan, in collaboration with one of the largest state-owned Chinese power companies, the China Three Gorges Corporation, more commonly known as the CTG. The rest of the three units will be connected to the national grid in the upcoming months.
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The project’s financial close was achieved in March 2017, and construction work began the same year. The mechanical, electrical, and other technical works of the project were completed around February 2022, and internal testing began in the same month. Work pertaining to transmitting power to the national grid was mostly completed by January however was not completed till April 30. The project is the first of three hydropower projects under China Pakistan Economic Corridor, and the estimated cost to get the plant operational stands at around $1.42 billion. According to the Managing Director of the Private Power and Infrastructure Board, the other two include “the 870MW Sukhi Kenari HPP and 1,124MW Kohala HPP.” Work on Sukhi Kerani is underway, whereas the construction of the Kohala Hydropower Project is yet to be initiated. The Kohala HPP is also being constructed on the Jhelum river, and a tripartite agreement was signed for its construction in June 2020; however, due to tax issues, the work on the construction site of the said river has still not begun.
It is pertinent to mention that according to the National Electric Power Regulator Authority state industry report 2021, Hydel sources of electricity generation account for 27.02 percent of the country’s electricity, significantly more than any other source except for thermal.
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Separately, to address the energy demands of the country, Pakistani authorities have also engaged the World Bank to facilitate the set up of a 300 MW floating solar project at the Tarbela – Ghazi Barotha complex. The project’s projected cost is proposed to be around $346.5 million. Under the project, a 150 MW floating solar subproject will be deployed in the Ghazi Barrage headpond and another floating project of similar capacity at the Forebay of the existing Ghazi Barotha Hydropower plant. The project would greatly enhance the electricity supply and help meet the rising demand for electricity in a climate-smart manner.