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    Time to unlock hydel potential for affordable electricity

    Time to unlock hydel potential for affordable electricity

    PESHAWAR (APP): Installing a solar system on the rooftop of his house, Riazul Haq – a former PST teacher seemed satisfied after making a Rs 300,000 investment hoping to get relief from long hours of power outages mostly caused by direct hocks, non-meterization, and non-construction of dams that irked consumers.

    “Today I am pleased to install a complete solar penal on investment helping me to run an AC and refrigerator for around 24 hours,” he told APP after installation of the system at his hometown of Pabbi Nowshera.

    Taking advantage of the decline in prices of the solar system, he said that solar panels are now within the common man’s reach and people may take advantage of it as Wapda could not afford uninterrupted electricity to all domestic, agricultural, and industrial consumers due to increase of power pilferage and non-meterization in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. 

    He said the menace of load shedding could not be addressed unless taking advantage of the massive hydel power potential in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

    Despite the 60,000MW hydel power potential of Pakistan including 30,000MW of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the energy crisis has deepened in recent years due to kunda culture, increase in prices of oil and petroleum products, high taxation, and non-construction of dams that adversely affected agriculture, economic and industrial growth in the country.

    The untapped hydel power potential of KP has increased the gap between the supply and demand of electricity during the start of summer, resulting in an increase in load shedding mostly high line losses feeders in peripheries of Peshawar, Bannu, DI Khan, Karak, Lakki Marwat and merged tribal districts.

    Akhtar Hameed Khan, Chief Executive Officer of Peshawar Electric Supply Company (PESCO) Akhtar Hameed Khan said that load management was being done only in areas where line losses were high in KP.

     He said that there was no load management on more than 500 feeders with no line losses. There is zero load-shedding in Hayatabad, Peshawar Cantonment, Gulbahar, and other posh areas. He said that PESCO teams were regularly conducting operations across the province to reduce line losses.

    He said that directives were issued to the field teams to accelerate operations to reduce load management. He said PESCO staff was further directed not to carry out any additional or unannounced load management across the province. 

    Under the aggregate technical and commercial losses (ATCL) formula, only scheduled load shedding was being carried out in areas with high ATCL losses such as Bannu, rural areas of Peshawar including Warak Road, Chagarmathi and Regi and DI Khan district. Swat, Swabi, Interior Peshawar, and Hazara were comparatively better in terms of low line losses and high recovery.

    He said the non-mercerization and direct hocks in merged areas mostly overload the power distribution system besides causing fluctuation and tripping of electricity that often caused the burning of expansive transformers.

    Prof Dr Zilakat Malik, former Chairman Economics Department of the University of Peshawar said that hydel energy was cost-efficient for developing countries like Pakistan and underscored the need for the construction of water reservoirs and small dams for sustainable economic growth and flood mitigation in the wake of climate change challenges.

    Dr Naeem said China had constructed about 98,000 dams and India 5,334 dams while Pakistan has built only 150 dams since its independence and no big dam after Turbella. 

    The rivers in northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab are most suitable for the construction of dams, especially small ones. 

    ‘Pakistan has about 60,000 MW  hydel potential of which only 6,600 MW has been tapped so far with nearly half of it installed in KP ie 30,000MW.

    Engr Zahoor Hussain, Director Projects, Wapda (North) besides the completion of 108MW Golen Gol dam in Chitral, said work on Mohmand dam of 800MW with 1.293 MAF water storage capacity was accelerated that after completion would supplement/irrigate 160,000 acres of existing land and about 18,237 acres of new land with annual benefits of Rs2.23 billion.

    KP Energy Department officials told APP that 36.6MW Daral Khwar HPP Madain Swat was completed and electricity generation with over Rs1.3 billion annual benefits started. Likewise, 300MW Balakot HPP worth Rs 85 billion approved by ECNEC would be constructed on River Kunhar in Mansehra.

    About 10,000 MW projects are in different stages of implementation with a potential to generate about Rs100 billion annual revenue and efforts are on to utilize the remaining 14,000 MW through construction of new hydropower projects.

    Three hydropower projects (HPPs) amounting to Rs177.244 billion including the construction of 96 MW Batakundi amounting to Rs 40 billion and 188MW Naran of Rs70 billion Manshera would be developed with the collaboration of International Finance Corporation (IFC) in Shangla. Feasibility study of 20.8MW Shangla HPP completed.

    496MW Spat-Gah HPP amounting to US$ 1,015 million is being developed for which MoU between KP government having 26pc shares and M/S Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Company (KHNP) with 74pc share was signed. Gabral Kalam and Madyan HPP having 245MW capacity would be constructed with Rs115 billion.

    Modification in Malakand-III HPP amounting to Rs 778 million initiated to generate an additional 154 GWh electricity with Rs 382 million annual benefits. 

    Work on seven different HPP having cumulative generation capacity of 214MW including Koto 69MW, Karora 11MW, Jabori 10MW, Matioltan 84 MW, Lawi 69MW, Capri Charkhel 10.2MW and Barando 6.5MW with Rs eight billion annual economic benefits were in different stages of completion.

    Malakand-III (81 MW), Daral Khawar (36.6MW), Ranolia (17 MW), Pehur (18 MW), Machai (2.6MW), Shishi (1.8MW) and Reshun (4.2 MW) with accumulative 161.2 MW generation commissioned to generate Rs5.4 billion revenue annually. About 12.8 million units would be saved having Rs 203 million in annual economic benefits after converting 4,000 mosques to solar energy.


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