Pakistan: Laraib first private sector hydropower plant
Pakistan’s first private sector hydropower plant has commenced operations. This project has been established by Hub Power Company (Hubco) that also enjoys the distinction of being country’s first independent power plant (IPP).
According to an announcement 84MW hydropower project of Laraib Energy has successfully commenced commercial operations on 23rd March. Laraib, a fully owned subsidiary of Hubco has constructed this project on Jhelum River in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJ&K).
The project will contribute 540 GWh of green energy annually to the National Grid under a 25 year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC).
The Project is located on Jhelum River 7.5 km downstream of the 1,000 MW Mangla Dam, a major multi-purpose water storage project commissioned in 1967. The Project does not involve the construction of a dam or reservoir nor will it affect the existing water management regimes. It will withdraw water released from the existing Mangla Dam and return that water to the main stem of the Jhelum River through a 6.5 km long tailrace constructed in a sub-channel of the River Jhelum.
Speaking on the occasion CEO of Hubco, Zafar Iqbal Sobani said, “This project will provide cheaper electricity and energy security to the country. Other benefits of the run-of-the river NBE HPP include replacement of some 135,000 tons of oil import valued in excess of US$100 million per annum and reduction in carbon emissions”.
The project was scheduled to be completed in 42 months, but was completed 2 months ahead of the schedule, comparing three similar low-head hydropower projects on the Ohio River, USA totaling 191MW started a year before NBE but still have a year to begin commercial operations.
Hubco has thanked the successive Governments of Pakistan as well as the Government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, the Private Power and Infrastructure Board, WAPDA as well as NTDC, for their support and lending massive experience in hydropower.
Hubco also acknowledged the important part played by the AJ&K Private Power Cell of the AJ&K Hydroelectric Board in the project’s long development journey.
The Asian Development Bank and other lending banks, multilaterals IDB, IFC and Proparco France and two domestic commercial banks National Bank of Pakistan and Habib Bank for playing a pro-active and constructive role in structuring the project and financing of the project, thus making this pioneering project becoming a reality.