ISLAMABAD: The successful completion of the 84 megawatt Bong Escape Hydropower Project, located in Mangla Azad Jammu and Kashmir, has paved way for numerous medium size independent power projects. The power project has the cumulative power generating capacity of 8,800 megawatt.
The projects that are launched by Independent Power Producers (IPPs) include a 620 MW project, which is under progress in Azad Pattan and another 80 MW project in Pashkot.
The Bong project, which has been operating since March 2013, is located about seven kilometres downstream of Mangla Dam. It is utilising the water from River Jhelum which was earlier going to waste.
“Following the Bong project, more than 8,800 megawatt projects are in various stages of development currently and the impact of the project will increase manifold,” S Hasnain Haider, chief executive officer of Laraib Energy Limited, a HUBCO subsidiary which is executing the project, told the press at the project site.
While providing details, Haider said the Bong Escape Hydropower Project was the only project that has survived among 35 projects that were started back in 1995 for power generation on hydel resources following the 1995 hydropower policy. “About 35 hydel power projects were provided licence in 1995, however, due to changing governments and changes in policies, only three of them survived and among them only one has become operational now,” he added.
He said that the project subsisted due to serious interests of the initiators and interest of donors, including Asian Development Bank (ADB) being part of it. He said the Bong project witnessed many ups and downs, and ultimately Hubco was invited into the project in 2008 to help Laraib achieve completion of its development activities and provide help for achieving financial close.
In his detailed briefing, Head of Operations of Laraib, Azhar Masud Panni said that ADB provided an amount of $37.3 million and the Islamic Development Bank also provided $37.3 million while Proparco financed $26 million.
In addition, the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) financed Rs1.625 billion and Habib Bank Limited (HBL) also provided Rs1.625 billion for the projects. He said that Pakistan has about 60,000 hydel power generation potential, mostly in areas of Kashmir, Gilgit Baltistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. However so far only 6,720 hydel potential was tapped.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 25th, 2013.