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Time to expedite work on hydropower projects to address energy crisis

Peshawar   –   Amid sizzling temperature of above 40 degree centigrade coupled with long hours unannounced power outages have started adversely affecting people and industrial production owing to a substantial energy shortfall of about 600 megawatt in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa gripped by severe heat wave since the start of this month.

As sun is spewing out severe heat, people in Peshawar’s peripheries, southern districts including Bannu and Dera Ismail Khan besides merged areas were witnessing the brunt of load-shedding for about 10-14 hours daily, especially on high loss feeders forcing consumers to install solar system, purchase generators and UPS besides water pools to protect their loved ones from the scorching heat.

Similarly, 6 to 10 hours load-shedding is being witnessed on medium lines loss feeders in urban areas of Peshawar, Charsadda, Mardan and Nowshera districts, making people’s lives miserable.

“Since July 1, the hide and seek of electricity continued in my village Dheri Ishaq and adjoining areas in Nowshera district where 6 to 10 hours load-shedding is being made on daily basis despite regular monthly payments of electricity bills,” said Misal Khan, Information Officer (Retd).

 The low-voltage, trappings and fluctuations have added to people’s miseries, especially in rural areas besides causing burning of their expansive electrical appliances, he added. “Following significant rise in temperature, the electricity’s demands had increased manifolds in KP facing a shortfall of about 600MW being fulfilled through scheduled load-shedding,” a senior official in PESCO’s Power Distribution Circle said.

“Currently, KP contributes about 2,800mw electricity to the national grid whereas our demand is about 2,300mw out of which about 17,00mw are being received from National Power Control System (NPCS),” he said.

The PESCO official said the increase of power thefts cases, especially ACs direct hooks in Peshawar’s peripheries, D.I. Khan and Bannu districts as well as merged areas besides gas and oil related shortage issues were forcing the company to make extra load-shedding on high loss feeders.

He said if due share of 1,100mw was provided to KP, not only the menace of load-shedding would be arrested but surplus energy would be available for domestic, agriculture and industrial consumers.

Currently, the country is generating around 6,000 megawatts from hydel resources despite 50,000mw to 60,000mw potential and suggested priorities to small dams, adding, their cost and time are efficient as compare to big dams.

“Load-shedding is the problem of all provinces and not KP specific. We have expedited work on different small, medium and big hydel, solar and other energy projects to tackle power outages that become serious issue in June-September,” said Engr Malik Muhammad Luqman, Senior Planning Officer, Power and Energy KP.

He said approximately 6,000mw (33,000GWh) having power generation cost of about Rs63 billion was being produced in the country against 50,000mw hydropower potential including 30,000mw in KP.

He said about 10,000mw projects were in different stages of implementation with a potential to generate about Rs100 billion annual revenue and efforts were on to utilise the remaining 14,000mw through construction of new hydropower projects and dams.

He said 65 projects including 52 ongoing, costing Rs3816.480 million and 13 new of Rs480 million were proposed and allocated for FY 2021.  The new projects included construction of 132kv grid stations at Bara Khyber, Sararogha South Waziristan of Rs 600 million, Tirah worth Rs1000 million, Shakus Khyber costing Rs471 million and Rs845 million for construction of 11kv  independent feeders along with transformers.

He said 18 ongoing projects would be completed in current fiscal year, adding, 36.6mw Daral Khwar HPP Madain Swat was completed and started electricity generation having an annual economic benefits of Rs1.3 billion.

Engr Luqman said Rs85 billion worth 300mw Balakot HPP approved by Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) was ready for groundbreaking.  The mega project would be constructed on River Kunhar in Mansehra with financial assistance of Asian Development Bank (ADB) for which consultants and contractors have been appointed.    

Three hydropower projects (HPPs) amounting of Rs177.244 billion including construction of 96mw Batakundi amounting of Rs40 billion, 188mw Naran of Rs70 billion Manshera and 20.8mw of Rs7.224 billion would be developed with collaboration of International Finance Corporation (IFC) in Shangla.

Feasibility study of 20.8mw Shangla HPP have been completed and practical work would soon commence by Pakhtunkhwa Energy Development Organisation (PEDO). “The government is in process of developing 496mw Spat-Gah HPP amounting $1,015 million for which memorandum of understanding (MoU) between KP government having 26pc share and M/S Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Company (KHNP) with 74pc share has been signed.”

Mohmand Dam on River Swat, on completion, would generate 800mw electricity and store 1.2MAF water. Work on seven different HPP having cumulative generation capacity of 214mw including Koto 69mw, Karora 11mw, Jabori 10mw, Matioltan 84mw, Lawi 69mw, Capri Charkhel 10.2mw and Barando 6.5mw with Rs8 billion annual economic benefits were in different stages of completion.

Luqman said Malakand-III (81mw), Daral Khawar (36.6mw), Ranolia (17mw), Pehur (18mw), Machai (2.6mw), Shishi (1.8mw) and Reshun (4.2mw) with accumulative 161.2mw generation were commissioned to generate Rs5.4 billion revenue annually.

The official said 332 mini macro hydropower project (MMHPPs) with power generation capacity of 30mw have been completed in 12 northern districts of KP benefiting over 140,000 people.

The KP government has planned to construct additional 672 MMHPs worth $237 million with the assistance of Asian Development Bank under the Prime Minister’s Access to Clean Energy Investment Programme (ACENIP). Work on solarisation of 8,000 schools benefiting one lakh student, 4,000 masajid and 187 basic health units were accelerated under ACENIP.

About 12.8 million units would be saved having Rs203 million annual economic benefits after converting 4,000 mosques on solar energy. Feasibility study of Tanda Dam in Kohat and Baran Dam in Bannu costing Rs150 million would be carried in next fiscal year to explore its potential regarding hydro power generation.

The solarisation of Civil Secretariat and Chief Minister KP Secretariat through net metering mechanism was completed besides 5,700 households and 300 mosques in KP, he concluded.

 

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