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KP energy ‘emergency’ projects

UNDER the ‘Energy emergency plan’, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government will initiate 12 power generation projects while executing 16 on-going ones at an estimated cost of over Rs5 billion in 2013-14.

Out of this, Rs1.5 billion will come from Annual Development Plan (from its local ADP of Rs83billion), Rs3 billion from the Hydro Development Fund (HDF) and another Rs0.8 billion from the foreign ADP component of Rs35 billion.

The KP finance minister has said energy sector projects will be accorded priority though there is no big allocation and no worthwhile emergency plan. He has promised the government would initiate small hydropower generation schemes through The Bank of Khyber’s Islamic banking programme and private sector will be invited to be joint venture partners.

Four hydro-power projects of 457MW capacity await approval by the federal government. The finance minister has asked swift approval to be accorded to these power projects to exploit its hydropower generation potential. The province will also build 200MW gas powered thermal power station in southern districts where there are plenty of oil and gas reserves.

According to the minister, KP will set up a 10MW solar power station which will be completed in record 18 months. Other power development plans include a feasibility study for a 50MW solar plant, providing power through solar energy to around 100 remote villages, not part of the national grid and converting civil secretariat in Peshawar to solar power. Another Rs100million have been allocated for conversion of street lights to solar power. Under a special initiative for import/manufacturing of solar panels and promotion of allied technologies, Rs300 million will be provided to Bank of Khyber for easy loans to entrepreneurs.

The province will also initiate a pilot 10MW project wind power station, besides constructing a 2MW biomass power station. Similarly, a model Jetropha Farm will be set up to assess the energy generation capacity of bio-diesel.

For energy conservation and efficiency, an energy task force will be established in collaboration with Peshawar electric supply company at a cost of Rs10 million for improving transmission and distribution system.

Under a loan agreement with Asian Development Bank for hydropower generation in KP, two hydropower schemes of 20 MW are being executed at Machai and Ranolia which will begin production by next year.

Among on-going projects, the 18MW Pehure hydropower plant is completed but there is a deadlock on power purchase agreement. A plan is being formulated to provide its electricity to industrialists on subsidised rates.

However, ground realities seem to belie all these promises. For example, the energy sector has been allocated Rs1.5 billion (or 1.8 per cent) in local ADP which is way behind the revised estimate of Rs8.3 billion in last year’s local ADP

Financing these projects should not be a problem. KP’s HDF aims at developing hydropower potential over Rs28billion. The province will also receive Rs25billion as NHP arrears this year. The province has around one billion barrels of oil and four trillion cubic feet of gas reserves. Investment in these sectors can solve the energy problems.

The government should also seek foreign loans and grants. However, there are funds but also capacity constraints owing to security constraints. KP’s total power requirement stands at 2,700MW but it receives 1870MW. There is acute loadshedding throughout the province, making lives miserable and businesses sluggish. The province accounts for 50,000MW hydro power potential. According to German experts 44,000MW could be had if three dams are built on Chitral River alone.

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