PESHAWAR: Contrary to the prime minister’s vision, the National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) has excluded at least 40 hydropower projects of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa having a cumulative capacity of 3,150MW from the Indicative Generation Capacity Expansion Plan (IGCEP).
However, only 10 projects of 788MW were included in the IGCEP, with a pretext that hydropower projects are costly. This would result in a loss of an estimated $9 billion foreign direct investment (FDI) to the province. Even the projects for which the KP government has signed MoU’s with Korean state-owned companies are also not included in the 10-year plan.
While talking to this correspondent, KP Chief Minister Mahmood Khan while expressing surprise over the decision of IGCEP said that Prime Minister Imran Khan has shown commitment to a “Clean and Green Pakistan” in various forums where on the energy side, Pakistan remains committed to realising the untapped renewable energy potential in hydro, solar and wind.
“As hydropower is the strength of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, therefore for the equitable development of all the federating units and in the larger interest of the country, hydropower should be given its due place in the generation plans of Pakistan,” he said.
Mahmood Khan said the KP government will take up the issue at the highest level because hydropower electricity is the cheapest and will reduce the reliance of the country on expensive and environmentally unfriendly thermal power. This decision has also hampered the infrastructure development and social uplift of the community through these power projects in the province.
The Pakhtunkhwa Energy Development Organisation (PEDO) proposed 50 power projects of cumulative capacity of approximately 4000MW in the public and private sector to NTDC for inclusion in IGCEP 2021-30.
However, only 10 public sector projects of 788MW already approved by Ecnec were included in IGCEP which is 2.4 percent of the total new addition ignoring all the 40 private sector projects where an estimated $9 billion foreign direct investment (FDI) was expected by the province. In the draft revised IGCEP all projects in the private sector, public-private partnership, and those projects for which the KP government signed MoU with Korean state-owned companies are not included as committed.
Chief Executive Officer PEDO Naeem Khan told this correspondent that there is no fuel price escalation in hydropower projects, unlike thermal power plants. Therefore, hydropower projects both storage and run of the river may be encouraged in IGCEP by the decision-makers for the prosperity of Pakistan but the timelines may critically be analysed to avoid entry of dirty and expensive fuels.
“By halting the process of development may lead to the worst scenario of opting for expensive fuels if Wapda’s megaprojects planned in IGCEP do not come online at the proposed time. Hydropower is a clean and green indigenous resource which is contributing to the international commitments to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and climate change and will reduce the reliance of the country on expensive and environmentally unfriendly thermal power,” he said.
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