ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is evaluating a proposal of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government for financing the construction of a run-of-river hydro power project on the Kunhar River, upstream of Balakot town.
The proposed project will include a 60-metre high concrete dam and have an installed capacity of 300MW, corresponding to an estimated investment of $645 million. The transmission line would be constructed by National Transmission and Despatch Company to evacuate power from the proposed project falls in the category of associated facility, according to the feasibility study of the project. Total length of the transmission line will be 720 metres and it will connect switch yard of Balakot hydropower project to the Suki Kinari-Maira transmission line.
The Pakhtunkhwa Energy Development Organisation has carried out a feasibility study of the ‘Balakot Hydropower Development Project’ in 2013 and submitted the same to the ADB for financing under its Hydropower Investment Development Programme.
As part of the project evaluation, ADB, on the advice of technical consultants, deemed the design proposed in 2013 as unfeasible and had it modified by a Lisbon-based consultant.
ADB has now acquired the services of a Pakistan-based company to prepare the documents required for ensuring that the project meets the environmental and social safeguards of ADB and also conforms to KP’s environmental legislation.
The Kunhar River is a tributary of Jhelum River. A number of hydropower projects have been planned or are under construction in the Jhelum basin, of which five are located on the Kunhar River. None of these projects are currently operational. All parts of the Balakot hydropower project will be located on the left bank of the Kunhar River.
Published in Dawn, November 17th, 2019