PESHAWAR: Pakhtunkhwa Energy Development Organisation (PEDO) has entered into an agreement with the Asian Development Bank (ADP) for financing the construction of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s (KP) biggest ever 300 megawatts (MW) hydropower project at a cost of US $ 645 million on Kunhar River near Balakot area of Mansehra.
KP Secretary Finance Shakeel Qadir Khan signed the agreement with ADP in the presence of KP Chief Minister (CM) Pervez Khattak and Provincial Minister for Energy and Power Muhammad Atif, PEDO Chief Planning Officer Syed Zainullah Shah and other high-ranking officers.
The dam site on Kunhar River is at a distance of about three kilometres downstream from Paras village and 17 kilometres upstream of Balakot’s main bridge. The powerhouse would be located on the left bank of Sangarh nullah confluence with Kunhar River, one kilometre upstream of Dabrain village and eight kilometres upstream of Balakot’s main bridge.
The project would be constructed in an environment-friendly way and would not displace the local population, thus contributing a lot to the national energy production at no cost at all. The project would also add over Rs eight billion per annum to the resources of the province. The investment on the project also promised more than 17 per cent return per year.
The PC-1 of the project had already been prepared and would be approved by the Provincial Development Party this week and sent to the Central Development Working Party i.e. the federal government. The ADB had already arranged funds for the project, which would be released in a timely manner (approximately 60 months).
Speaking on the occasion, Pervez Khattak regretted that on the one hand there was a shortage of electricity in the country while on the other hand, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s rich energy resources, particularly environment-friendly low-cost hydel power, were not being utilised by the federal government.
He said that instead of helping the province tap into these resources, the federal government was importing costly LNG. He also regretted that the federal government was neither finalising a purchase agreement regarding the 74 MW hydel power generated in the province to add it to the national grid nor was it paying the price of the electricity generated by KP.
According to a conservative estimate, the province has the capacity to produce 15,000 MW of cheap and environment-friendly hydel power but the federal government was least interested in its development.
Khattak pointed out that the KP government had started work on 2,500 MW hydel power generation from its own meager resources by signing an agreement for 668 MW with the private sector. The province also signed agreements with Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) for the generation of 506 MW energy while another agreement was signed with China for a 610 MW power project.
The chief minister also said that neither the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) nor the federal government were interested in the capacity building of transmission lines in the smaller provinces, due to which the electricity produced on the provincial level could not be transmitted to the national grid.