LAHORE: Hydroelectric power generation increased by 1.524 billion units in the fiscal year ended June 2014 on the back of efficient operation and maintenance of plants, better water availability in reservoirs and new projects coming on stream including the rise in capacity of Mangla Dam.
According to the Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda), it supplied 31.084 billion units of hydroelectric power to the national grid in 2013-14 compared to 29.560 billion units a year earlier, an increase of 1.524 billion units.
“This additional contribution of low-cost electricity helped the national exchequer save about Rs24.38 billion, which otherwise would have been spent on generating an equal volume of electricity from costly imported oil,” a Wapda spokesman commented.
In the year, Wapda billed the Central Power Purchasing Agency for hydroelectric power generation at an average of Rs1.50 per unit whereas average per unit cost of production from imported furnace oil was Rs16. Government charges consumers an average of Rs11.50 per unit.
According to data, Tarbela, the largest hydroelectric power station in the country, produced 15.138 billion units in 2013-14 compared to 14.755 billion units in 2012-13.
Mangla, after completion of its capacity-increasing project, generated 5.725 billion units against 4.576 billion units a year earlier. The remaining volume was generated by other hydel power stations.
Wapda’s hydel power generation capacity stands at about 7,000 megawatts, about one-third of the total installed capacity in the country. It is the cheapest, cleanest and environment-friendly source of electricity generation.
Pakistan’s energy mix is heavily tilted in favour of costly sources of power production. A phased rise in low-cost hydroelectric power generation will not only improve its ratio in the energy mix but also lead to reduction in tariffs and provide relief to the consumers.
Wapda says it is executing a least-cost energy production plan with a view to improving the ratio of hydel electricity in the national grid.
Many water-based projects including 969MW Neelum-Jhelum, 106MW Golen Gol, 1,410MW Tarbela 4th Extension, 2,160MW Dasu Stage-I and 4,500MW Diamer Bhasha Dam were under construction.
Apart from these, 7,100MW Bunji hydropower project is ready for construction work while studies for 1,320MW Tarbela 5th Extension project are being conducted and it will be taken up simultaneously with the 4th Extension programme.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 24th, 2014.
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