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PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has decided to increase the number of micro-hydel power stations in the province from the current 53 to 1,000 in the next few years and hinted at extending the programme to central parts of the province.

The energy and power department has been setting up 356 small MHPs in 12 hilly districts of the province through NGOs since the PTI government took over in the province.

Energy and power minister Mohammad Atif Khan and Pakhtunkhwa Energy Development Organisation chief executive officer Akbar Ayub told reporters at a local hotel that the government had decided to increase the number of MHPs to 1,000.

The Pedo chief said his organisation had also planned to extend the MHP programme to central parts of the province, including Mardan, Charsadda, Swabi and Nowshera, where small power stations would be built on canals.

Pedo chief says Asian Development Bank supporting initiative

He said the Asian Development Bank was extending support to the government in that respect and that it would fund the establishment of MHPs.

Mr. Ayub said the construction of 350 MHPs was to benefit over 350,000 people, while 1,000 MHPs would provide cheap power to around one million households.

He said currently, the Pedo had planned 29 hydel power projects under short, medium and long term framework at the estimated cost of $12 billion.

The Pedo chief said three short-term projects with installed capacity of 124 megawatts were to cost around $124 million.

He said in the medium term, five projects with installed capacity of 214 megawatts were to cost $678 million, while 21 long term projects with installed capacity of 3631 was to cost $11, 150.

Mr. Ayub said the government had prepared feasibility studies of at least 18 projects and government has planned to execute these projects with the help of private sector.

He said currently, the government had offered six projects with installed capacity of 666 megawatts to private sector and have received overwhelming response from international as well as local investors.

“We’ve received 56 proposals for pre-qualification from international as well local firms to invest in these seven projects,” he said.

The Pedo chief said the organisation was not only working on hydel power but was also working on solar, thermal and wind as well.

He said the department could also venture in transmission and dispatch sector.

Mr. Ayub said the ADB had agreed to fund 300 megawatts Balakot hydel power station at the estimated cost of $600-$700 million.

He said it would be for the first time that ADB will do such a huge investment in the province.

The Pedo chief said the department would also work on 100 megawatts of solar power projects and issued two letters of interest of 50MW each.

He said of 356 MHPs, feasibilities of 284 were ready, while 188 were under construction and 53 have been completed and operational, while five have been inaugurated so far.

Mr. Ayub said 356 MHPs would generate around 35MW power and provide cheap electricity to over 350,000 households in 12 districts.

On the occasion, energy and power minister Mohammad Atif Khan said the previous government had begun work on 57MW projects in five years but the current government had launched work on 214MW projects.

He said $2 billion investment would be made in the power sector, the largest in the province’s history.

Published in Dawn, June 21st, 2016