Tarbela fourth extension project may help save $900 million: Wapda

The National Assembly Standing Committee on Planning, Development and Reforms was informed that saving of $900 million foreign exchange is expected after the completion of Tarbela 4th Extension Hydropower Project.

Chairman Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) Zafar Mahmood said this while giving briefing on Tarbela 4th Extension Hydropower Project to the committee, which met under the Chairmanship of Abdul Majeed Khan Khanan Khail at Parliament House Wednesday.

MNAs Chaudhry Jaffar Iqbal, Syed Muhammad Athar Hussain Shah Gillani, Tariq Christopher Qaiser, Shaza Fatima Khawaja, Shaheen Shafiq, Ms Shazia Farid, Shamas-un-Nisa, Dr Nafisa Shah, Junaid Akbar, Sheikh Salahuddin, Sher Akbar Khan and Iftikhar-ud-Din attended the meeting; besides officials of the Ministry of Planning, Development and Reforms and the Ministry of Water and Power.

The committee discussed Tarbela 4th Extension Hydro Power Project (1,410MW) “Sawabi” (PSDP No 748), 1200-MW LNG Based Power Plant, Balloki (PSDP No 756) and on 1200-MW LNG Based Power Plant, Haveli Bahadur Shah (PSDP No 757).

The Wapda Chairman said that Tarbela has 3,478 MW installed power generation facility on Tunnels 1, 2, 3. He said that the main objective of the development of Tarbela 4th Extension Hydropower Project is to facilitate a sustainable expansion in Pakistan’s electricity generation capacity.

He said that Tarbela capacity after development of Tunnel-4 will be 4,888 MW. He said that the guarantee of turbines was 30 years but now 50 years have been passed but they are functioning well.

Answering a question, he said that if we replace four turbines with latest technology the capacity of Tarbela Dam to generate 700 MW (25 percent to 30 percent) more electricity would be increased.

He said that it would be realised by installing three units of 470 MW each with a total capacity of 1410 MW hydropower plant on the existing Tunnel 4 of Tarbela Dam without affecting irrigation releases, with almost no exposure to social and environmental hazards generally associated with hydropower projects.

The project is considered a low hanging fruit and it is a “low-risk-high-award” operation aimed at providing over 3.84 billion units annually of least cost low-carbon renewable energy. He said that purpose of construction of Tunnel 4 is irrigation.

The Wapda Chairman said that one million families would benefit from additional generated power units and Rs 39 billion per annum revenue is expected after completion of the project.

While giving tough time to the Wapda Chairman, committee member Dr Nafisa Shah of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) asked why a bureaucrat wrote articles on a controversial issue of Kalabagh Dam.

“I have reservations on it; three provinces already have passed resolutions against the construction of Kalabagh Dam.” Wapda Chairman Zafar Mahmood said that there is no legal bar for him to write article. “I wrote real facts in the article,” he said.

The committee showed satisfaction over the progress of Balloki and Haveli Bahadur Shah, RLNG projects.

The committee was also informed that both the Projects were awarded through international bidding on Levellised Energy Cost (LEC) in accordance with PPRA rules. -Business Recorder