LAHORE: The 1,450 MW Ghazi Barotha Hydropower Project (GBHP) has completed eight years of operation. Commissioned in August 2003, GBHP has contributed about 53 billion units of electricity to the national grid, registering revenues of Rs226.5 billion to the national exchequer.
Had this quantum of electricity generated through thermal resources, it would have cost Rs283.8 billion in foreign exchange. The average cost of electricity generated by GBHP during the last eight years has remained Rs1.08 per unit, whereas the cost of power from thermal sources has been Rs5.36 per unit during the same period.
GBHP is located on the River Indus downstream of Tarbela Dam. Constructed with a cost of Rs96.957 billion, it consists of three main components; the barrage, the power channel and the power complex. The project holds the record of having the biggest concrete lined channel in the world with a length of 51.9 kilometres and design flow of up to 56,000 cusecs.
Implementation of the project came to fruition with the commissioning of Unit No 1 and No 2 in August 2003. Work on the remaining three units continued and the last unit - Unit No 5 - was commissioned in April 2004. With an average energy output of 6.6 billion units per annum, it provides maximum electricity during the daily hours of peak demand round-the year, including the months when Mangla and Tarbela reservoirs are historically at their lowest level.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 26th, 2011.
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