WASHINGTON: The World Bank on Wednesday approved $700 million additional financing to help Pakistan generate low cost, renewable energy to provide affordable electricity to millions of users.
The World Bank is also working with the federal and provincial governments to deal with the coronavirus pandemic as the confirmed coronavirus cases soar past 2,000.
The additional financing will be used to complete the first phase of the Dasu Hydropower project. It will install 2,160 megawatts capacity along the Indus River.
Stage two will double the installed capacity to 4,320 megawatts – making it the largest hydropower plant in the country.
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“Pakistan’s energy sector is aiming to move away from high-cost and inefficient fossil fuels towards low-cost, renewable energy to power the national grid,” said Illango Patchamuthu, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan.
“Along with reforms in the tariff structure, the Dasu Hydropower Project will result in fewer imports of fossil fuels, alleviating the stress on the country’s current account balance.”
The project will help lower the overall cost of energy generation in the country, which will benefit millions of energy users by making electricity more affordable for households, as well as the manufacturing and agricultural sector.
The powerplant will provide its electricity particularly in the summer to reduce blackouts when the demand is higher.
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“The Dasu hydropower plant has a low environmental footprint and is considered to be one of the best hydropower projects in the world,” said Rikard Liden, Task Team Leader for the project.
“It will contribute to reducing Pakistan’s reliance on fossil-fuels and producing clean renewable energy.”
The Dasu hydropower plant will produce electricity at $0.03/kWh compared to Pakistan’s current cost of electricity generation of $0.08/kWh.
This investment will help Pakistan pave its way into becoming an upper middle-income country by 2047.