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Hub Power Company (Hubco) – File photo

KARACHI: Pakistan's first private hydropower IPP established by Hub Power Company (Hubco) has commenced commercial operations.

An announcement here on Monday said that Pakistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir's first private Independent Power Producer (IPP) Laraib Energy Limited- the 84 MW New Bong Hydropower Project, has commenced commercial operations. It said that the Hub Power Company (Hubco) subsidiary, Laraib Energy Limited, was successfully commissioned on March 23.

The project will contribute 540 GWh of green energy annually into the National Grid under a 25 year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC).

Speaking onthe occasion, CEO 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 two months earlier; comparing three similar low-head hydropower projects on the Ohio River, USA totalling 191 MW 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 Azad Government of the State of 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 NBP and HBL played a very pro-active and constructive role in structuring the project and the finance documents, thus making this pioneering project a reality, it was further pointed out.