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Hydropower projects – A better future ahead

Published on 19th May, Edition 20, 2014


For years, large scale hydropower progress has been sighted as something of a pariah within the renewable power sector. Indeed, despite an acknowledged contribution to sustainable power growth ‘ hydropower’s worldwide kWh contribution dwarfs all other renewable technologies ‘ it has chiefly been excluded from considerations that merit other forms of renewable energy generation and has weathered widespread criticism over schemes deemed unsustainable.

All that is altering though, and nowadays the prospects for large scale hydropower developments look better than they have for years. According to the International Hydropower Association (IHA), some 30 GW of latest hydropower capacity were commissioned during 2012, including about 2 GW of pumped storage. Naturally this scale of growth has been accompanied an important investment in all areas, particularly Asia, South America and Africa. IHA explains three clear trends that are predicted to see both development and investment progress for the hydropower sector in the coming decades. Presently, strategy adepts are taking a much more optimistic and balanced view of the merits and role of hydropower. The IEA projects a doubling of hydropower production and capability by 2030, and present trends explain that this is attainable. In the South Asian countries, Pakistan presently proclaimed its strategies to develop the nation’s hydropower potential, and with well cause. In northern part of the country, where there is an abundance of rivers, there is an enormous potential for hydropower initiatives, and the advantages of implementing more hydropower schemes in Pakistan ensures that the country can meet its energy requirements. Accordingly, the Government of Pakistan is giving priority to hydropower generation projects in both private and public sectors. Many projects are in different phases of implementation. Micro-hydropower development in the northern part of the country is benefiting the formerly under-privileged communities. The government also aims to include 13,000MW to the national grid system within the next 4-year. The proposed strategies will address the chronic energy shortfalls that have plagued the country in present years, which have hindered Pakistan’s economy and socio-economic development.

The government realizes that hydropower has a proven track record of assisting developing nations stabilize their economies and nurture the development of infrastructure. With such growth, the country can predict to develop its power resources at a well pace, giving schools, better sanitation networks and medical facilities in regions that are recognized as suitable locations for hydropower. The projects will also provide the domestic populations job opportunities to work in the power sector. The Government of Pakistan is pursuing its idea to generate power through hydel means as 4-schemes of 1619MW are ready for building to meet the electricity demand. The schemes ready for construction such as Kurram Tangi dam with 83.4 capability and Tarbela with 4th extension 1410MW while 2 extra schemes are Keyal Khwar hydropower 122MW and Naulong dam with generation capability of 4.4 MW. WAPDA is also in process of planning 11-scheme of 17475.5MW under its master strategy to generate power from hydel sources. These schemes are Munda dam 740MW, Patan Hydropower 2,800MW, Spat Gah hydropower 496MW, Shyok dam project 600MW, Phandar hydropower 80MW, Basho hydropower 40MW, Bunji hydropower 7100MW, Palas Valley hydropower 665MW, Harpo hydropower 34.5MW, Akhori Dam project 600MW and Dasu hydropower with capacity of 4,320MW.


Moreover, 12 hydro power schemes are under construction such as Duber Khwar 130MW, Allai Khawar 121MW, Gomal Zam Dam 17.4MW, Jinnah 96MW, Mangla dam boosting 644MW (completed), Satpara dam 17.3MW, Golen Gol 106MW, Khan Khwar 72MW, Neelum Jhelum 969MW, Diamer Basha dam 4,500MW, Jabban 22MW and Nai Gaj dam 4.2MW. The Nai Gaj dam has been started in May 2012; however, Naulong dam, Keyal Khwar, Kurram Tangi dam, and Tarbela 4th extension projects are under process and will be started on availability resources. The World Bank will offer financial support of $840 million for construction of Tarbela project. More recently, Austria showed interest in hydropower generation in the country with particular reference to financing 1,300MW project on Tarbella 5 at a cost of $400 million.

Power subsidy

The government has exceeded budgetary allocation of Rs220 billion subsidy for energy sector in the first 10-month of the present FY14 and extra releases would further squeeze development spending. Experts said that the inability of the government to limit the energy sector subsidy within a budgetary goal is being sighted as the third failure of the government in terms of budgetary predicts for FY14.


Energy is an essential ingredient of socio-economic development and economic growth. It’s certainly wrong to advise that hydropower development presents nothing but opportunity, realizing its incredible global potential means surmounting some main problems. Nonetheless, these broad trends suggest that, sustainable developed; hydropower’s innate opportunities for clean power and water management, grid stability and storage mean that its present period of significant development will continue into 2014 and beyond.


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