A long term plan to overcome power shortages could work miracles if the federal government made a focused effort to complete projects on six Indus river sites with the potential to generate 18900 megawatts (MW) of electricity.
According to official sources, on IndusRiver, Yugo Dam has the potential to produce 520 MW, Skardu Dam 1600 MW, Tungus Dam 2200, Yulbo Dam 2800 MW, Bunji Dam 7100 MW and Diamer-Bhasha Dam can produce 4500 MW.
The Gilgit-Baltistan Water and Power Department has also marked 36 projects to produce 204 MW on tributaries and sub tributaries of river Indus.
The Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) would remain central to completing these mega projects.
Gilgit-Baltistan is Pakistan’s water bank with large area of glaciers and snow deposits in its mountains. The region has a catchment area of 72496 square kilometers, which include about 27 percent glaciers, the biggest in the world outside the polar region.
The IndusRiver would be crucial to Pakistan’s efforts to save the economy by overcoming power shortages. According to experts, the hydro power potential on main tributaries and the IndusRiver is as much as 40,000 MW, while hydro power potential on sub tributaries is 1,200 MW.
A two decades old policy to encourage the private sector for power generation seems to have failed as the government has been bogged down by circular debt. At present as many as 15 private companies have the capacity to produce 4000 MW, but many of these are functioning under their capacity due to fuel shortages.
The Hub Power Project has a 1292 MW capacity, Uch Power Limited has 586 MW, AES Pak Generation has 365 MW, AES Lalpir has 362 MW, Tapal Energy Limited has 126 MW, Southern Electric Power Company has 115.2 MW, Saba Power Company has 114 MW, Rousch (Pakistan) Power has 412 MW, Liberty Power Project has 235 MW, Kohinoor Energy has 131.44 MW, Japan Power Generation has 120 MW, Habibullah Coastal Power Company has 140 MW, Gul Ahmed Energy has 136.17 MW, Fauji Kabirwala Power Company has 157 MW and Altern Energy Limited has a 29 MW capacity.
According to WAPDA, the supply and demand gap for electricity is worsening as total generation stood at 11,800 MW against a demand of 16,400 MW, with electricity shortfall recorded at 4,600 MW.
All eyes are set on the newly elected government to come to the rescue of hapless citizens, however, there is a recognition that a complete resolution would take months, if not years.