The hydel power stations operated by the Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) have generated more electricity to the National Grid during November so far as compared to the corresponding period of last year. Likewise, the hydel power generation is set to increase during upcoming December and January as well.
This increased generation is due to better hydrological conditions particularly in relation to Mangla Reservoir, and efficient operation and maintenance of hydel power stations. The enhanced production of hydel electricity comes at a time when the country is in acute need of electricity to run the engine of economy. The additional quantum of electricity will not only help minimize load-shedding during the winter season but also lower power tariff thereby providing relief to the people.
According to available data, contribution of additional hydel electricity to the national grid has ranged between 500 and 650 MW on an average for the current month so far as compared to corresponding period of last year. In the same way, the increased hydel power generation is likely to range between 400-500 MW in December, 2014 and 300-660 MW in January 2015 on an average. These projections are based on IRSAs Reservoir Operation Criteria for Rabi Season 2014-15.
The hydel power generation capacity of WAPDA stands at about 7000 MW – about one third of the total installed capacity in the country. WAPDA is executing a least-cost energy generation plan on priority basis with a view to improving the ratio of hydel electricity in the National Grid. The under-construction projects include 969-MW Neelum-Jhelum, 106-MW, Golen Gol, 1410-MW Tarbela 4thExtension, 2160-MW Dasu Stage-I and 4500-MW Diamer Basha Dam. It is pertinent to mention that the 7100-MW Bunji hydropower project is ready for construction, whereas studies for 1320-MW Tarbela 5thExtension are also being conducted and the project will be taken up simultaneously with Tarbela 4thExtension.
Hydel is the cheapest, cleanest and environment-friendly source of power generation. Pakistans energy mix is heavily tilted in favour of costly sources of power generation. The phased induction of low-cost hydel electricity will not only improve its ratio in the energy mix but also lower tariff and provide relief to the consumers.