Hydropower plant in Pakistan approved by the Board
On 30 March, the Board approved a $300 million loan to finance the 300-MW Balakot Hydropower Development Project in Pakistan. The project will increase the share of clean energy in Pakistan and improve the country’s energy security with the additional 1,143 gigawatt-hours of clean energy that will be generated by the plant annually. The plant, which will incorporate seismic strengthening and climate-proofing measures, will be built on the Kunhar river near Balakot City in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province and commissioned by 2027.
This project is one of the efforts in tapping the countries own hydropower resources which remains largely untapped as only 16% of its potential has been harnessed; and a step closer to eliminating Pakistan’s reliance on imported fuel-based power generation. This is a welcome development for a country that is continuously burdened by outages due to a stressed transmission and distribution network. The government has committed to increase its untapped renewable energy potential in hydro, solar, and wind to diversify its energy mix.
Imbedded in the design of the project are programs that help generate economic activity and improve the skills of local communities. During construction, the project will generate more than 1,200 jobs, about 40% of which will be sourced locally, and provide livelihood skills development for women. A community development program will help to improve livelihood opportunities for affected households and adjacent communities, including women and vulnerable segments of the population. This will help to build economic resilience and improve the capacity of affected people to cope with climate change, natural disasters, and other risks. The project is led by CWEN’s Adnan Tareen.