Hydel generation registers sharp winter decline

Published: January 12, 2017

ISLAMABAD: The hydel power generation in the country has witnessed a sharp decline due to less releases of water from dams following canal closures for de-silting.

“The power generation through hydel resources has come down to 550MW against installed capacity of 6,900MW,” said an official of Water and Power Ministry while requesting anonymity.

Under the annual canal closure plan, the canals are closed from Dec 26 to Jan 31 for maintenance and de-silting leading to low water releases from dams causing decline in hydel electricity generation.

Dams are built for water storage and electricity is a byproduct. However, the electricity demand in the winter season is about 12,000 MW against 18,000MW to 19,000MW demand of summer.

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The official said the installed capacity of electricity generation through hydel resources is 6,900MW that is fully used in summer season due to more water releases from dams.

“Therefore, a drop in hydel generation is not causing increase in load shedding,” he added.

The official said government had implemented zero load-shedding plan for two months before closure of canals in areas where recovery of power bills was high and power theft was low. However, it discontinued the zero load-shedding plan following closure of canals.

According to reports, eleven power generation units of Tarbela dam have been shut down due to low water level in the lake and power production capacity has reached its lowest. Only three power generation units are producing 297MW electricity and they are also not working at their full capacity.

The Tarbela dam officials disclosed that due to decreased water inflow in the dam the capacity of the dam’s power production has reduced from 3,478MW to only 297MW.

According to water report issued by the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda), water inflows from Indus at Tarbela are 15,100 cusecs and outflows 7,000 cusecs.

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The present water level at Tarbel dam stands at 1,426.95 feet against the maximum conservation level of 1,550 feet. The water level at Mangla dam is 1,101.30 feet against the maximum conservation level of 1,242 feet while the level at Chashma is 640 feet against the maximum conservation level of 649 feet.

Wapda said the inflows and outflows of River Indus at Tarbela and Chashma, River Kabul at Nowshera and River Jhelum at Mangla have been reflected as mean flows of 24 hours, whereas the other flows have been gauged at 6am.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 12th, 2017.

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