In an effort to optimally utilise the existing hydro power potential in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for economic development of the province, Pakhtunkhwa Energy Development Organisation (PEDO) plans to start work on the 88MW Gabral-Kalam Hydropower Project by July 2023. Project Director Asif Kamal told WealthPK that the estimated cost of the said project is Rs36 billion, which is expected to be completed in 2027. He said that the initiative will help the KP provincial government provide more sustainable and reliable electricity for vulnerable communities. He added that prolonged power shortages affect households, industrial and commercial activities of the area.
“The project is designed to generate cost-effective and sustainable energy in KP with enduring economic benefits,” he added. Currently, land acquisition for the power house is in process. Asif said the project will be completed with financial assistance from the World Bank. Upon completion, this project will generate about 339 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity annually. The project will be carried out with an objective to develop the hydropower potential available in KP on a sustainable basis to provide low-cost and uninterrupted electricity supply which is environment-friendly as well.
The project will take into account the province’s electricity needs for agriculture, industry and economy. It will also indirectly benefit the local community by creating jobs. The project will boost the region’s socio-economic development, as well as its communication, infrastructure, forestry, cottage industry, and livestock sectors. Pakistan has a hydropower potential of 60,000MW, but so far only 15% of the total potential has been utilised. About 64% of the total installed power capacity in the country mainly originated from fossil power plants. The greater reliance on thermal sources has already resulted in increasing dependence on imported fuel.
Imports result in the high cost of power production. According to the latest data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), the country’s oil import bill was recorded at $13.08 billion during the first nine months (July-March) of the current fiscal year (2022-23). Reduced reliance on imported fuel will help in reducing the massive import bill of Pakistan and lessen pressure on forex reserves.
Credit: Independent News Pakistan-WealthPk