ISLAMABAD: The concluding year of 2023 proved to be highly gratifying for Pakistan’s hydropower and water sectors, with WAPDA successfully generating approximately 34 billion units of cost-effective, environmentally-friendly hydel electricity.
This achievement marks an increase of 2.2 billion units compared to the previous year. Throughout 2023, Pakistan observed a surge in hydel electricity production, coupled with significant milestones reached by ongoing WAPDA projects in water and hydropower domains.
The heightened hydel generation not only contributed to environmental sustainability but also led to substantial savings of about Rs. 106 billion for the national exchequer. This amount represents the potential cost if an equivalent quantity of electricity was generated using expensive, imported fossil fuels.
According to an official statement, WAPDA’s hydel electricity is priced at only Rs. 3.51 per unit, constituting approximately 30% of the total electricity supplied to the National Grid. WAPDA owns and operates 22 hydel power stations, including Neelum Jhelum, with a cumulative generation capacity of 9,459 Megawatts (MW).
In 2023, the generation breakdown showcased impressive figures, with Tarbela contributing 12.9 billion units, Tarbela 4th Extension 4.4 billion units, Ghazi Barotha 6.8 billion units, Mangla 4.7 billion units, Neelum Jhelum 1 billion units, Warsak 0.8 billion units, Chashma 0.9 billion units, and the remaining WAPDA hydel power stations collectively generating 2.5 billion units.
The statement said that despite global challenges, WAPDA successfully sustained construction efforts on eight ongoing projects. Noteworthy milestones achieved in 2023 include the river diversion at the Dasu Hydropower Project and the successful test-run diversion of the Indus River at the Diamer-Basha Dam. WAPDA is anticipated to achieve another significant milestone with the river diversion at the Mohmand Dam Project within three to four months.
Looking ahead, WAPDA is diligently working on eight mega-projects designed to enhance Pakistan’s water, food, and energy security. These projects are slated for completion in phases from 2024 to 2028-29. The gross water storage capacity will increase by 9.7 million acre-feet upon their completion. WAPDA’s hydel generation is expected to nearly double to 20,000 MW, reflecting an increase of approximately 10,000 MW over the next five years. —APP