State Minister for Water and Power Chaudhary Abid Sher Ali on Thursday said that 1,500-2,000 MW additional electricity would be added to the national grid system this year which would help visibly reduce in power load-shedding in upcoming summer season. Briefing journalists here at the 4th Tarbela Extension power project site, the minister said that the government has devised short, medium and long term strategies to overcome the energy crisis.
He said that despite various challenges including terrorism and law and order situation, resolution of the energy crisis was government's top priority and every effort was being made to ease out the situation. The minister said that the Tarbela 4th and Tarbela 5th hydropower projects would add 1410 MW and 1320 MW respectively electricity to the current existing capacity of Tarbela hydropower units. With the addition of 2,730 MW, the total capacity of Tarbela hydropower project would surge to 6,208 MW. Abid Sher Ali said that the 4th extension hydropower project would be completed in a short span of three and half years with an estimated cost of $ 928 million. World Bank (WB) was providing $ 840 million for the project, he added. He said that the government was also negotiating with WB to provide funding for the 5th Tarbela Extension power project. The minister said that the Prime Minister would perform ground breaking ceremony of the project shortly.
He said that the 4th Extension Hydropower Project would contribute 4 billion units of low-cost hydel electricity annually to the national grid. The monetary benefit to accrue from the project has been estimated to be Rs.30 billion per annum and it would pay back its entire cost of construction in three years, the minister said. Abid Sher Ali said that the project was part of the government's least cost energy generation plan. On the directive of the Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif, the ministry of water and power was making earnest efforts to increase the hydel share in energy mix, which would not only reduce power tariff but also provide relief to the common man, he added. Under the medium term plan, the minister said the government would add more than 13,000 MW of electricity in next five to seven years.
These projects include, 106 MW Golen Gol, 969 MW Neelum Jhelum, 1410 MW Tarbela 4th Extension, 1320 MW Tarbela 5th Extension, 122 MW Keyal Khwar, 83 MW Kurram Tangi, 2160 MW Dasu Phase-1, 496 MW Lower Spat Gah, 665 MW Lower Palas Valley, 740 MW Mohmand (Munda) dam, 2800 MW Pattan and 2800 MW Thakot Hydropower project. Abid Sher said that under long-term plan, projects of 14,970 MW would be completed which would need 7-10 years for commissioning. He said that the government has already released Rs 17 billion for land acquisition of Diamer-Basha dam and around 70-80 per cent has been acquired for the this mega project. The minister said that 969 MW Neelum Jhelum Hydropower project would start generation in 2015-16 while 106 MW Golen Gol Hydropower Project would also add electricity to the national grid system in 2015.
He said the government was not only arranging funds from its resources but also reaching out to the friendly countries and International Financial Institutions for availability of funds to complete these project. Abid Sher Ali said that, the government was also exploring other sources such as coal, nuclear, wind and solar to meet the country's needs. The minister said that 425 MW Nandipur power project would be fully operationalized this year while 600-700 MW Guddu Power Plant which was closed due to non-availability of gas would also be made functional by March.