LAHORE: After riding on the success of Tarbela fourth extension hydroelectric power project, the World Bank and the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) foresee the completion of Tarbela fifth extension project by 2023.
After successful completion of the fourth extension project with capacity of 1,410 megawatts, the World Bank is moving forward to start the next phase of its renewable energy plan for Pakistan, namely the Tarbela fifth extension project.
The international lender is confident that the fifth extension project can be “put into operation in four years”, generating $200 million worth of additional revenue for Wapda per annum.
The World Bank recently concluded its Pakistan mission meeting, which was attended by the Wapda management, World Bank team leader Dr Rikard Liden and Adviser to the World Bank on Hydropower Masood Ahmad.
The World Bank team praised Wapda and other stakeholders, concluding that “the Tarbela fourth extension was one of the rare projects completed on time and below cost. It will add 3,000 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity annually worth about $350 million and save foreign exchange”.
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This is an important milestone as global statistics for hydroelectric power show an average of around 90% cost overrun and 70% delay in project duration.
The success of Tarbela fourth extension has also encouraged other international donors including the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
In its Annual Infrastructure Report for 2019, the AIIB reaffirmed its commitment to the upcoming Tarbela fifth extension. Its Head of Communications said, “Our focus will remain on projects that can be carried out on a sound economic basis and contribute towards Pakistan’s long-term economic development.”
According to officials, the completion of Tarbela fifth extension will increase the capacity of overall Tarbela project from 4,888MW to 6,298MW, making it amongst the top 10 hydroelectric power stations in the world. It will also significantly enhance Wapda’s financial capability, allowing it to invest significant proceeds from Tarbela-4 and 5 in the expansion of Indus cascade.
Tarbela Dam is located on the Indus River 110 km from Islamabad in Swabi district and Haripur, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. The left bank irrigation tunnel, T-5, was constructed under the Tarbela dam project to provide a low-level outlet for additional irrigation supplies, when Tarbela reservoir is at a low level.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 13th, 2019.
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