Pakhtunkhwa Hydel Development Organization (PHYDO) has submitted two applications with the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) for constructing two hydropower plants in the province with a cumulative production capacity of 20 megawatts.
PHYDO is a public sector organisation constituted under the SHYDO Act 1993 to develop hydropower projects in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
These two proposed projects include one in district Mardan with installed capacity of 2.6 MW and one in district Kohistan with an installed capacity of 17MW.
The 17MW project is estimated to cost $48.923 million, while the 2.6MW is estimated to cost $13.025 million.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is blessed with huge hydropower potential. Private sectors and international funding agencies are keen to explore the potential.
Most of the hydropower projects, including Tarbela and Warsak hydropower stations, are located in the province.
Sarhad Hydel Development Organization (SHYDO), since its inception in 1986, has been instrumental in identifying and exploiting hydel potential in the northern area.
The organisation is under the administrative control of irrigation and power department of provincial government and governed by the board of directors.
SHYDO has so far identified a number of promising hydel potential sites of more than 6000 MW capacity, which can be developed in a systematic manner either through public sector or private sector.
PHYDO in its application noted that Pakistan has been facing energy shortage for quite sometime now since the gap between demand and supply has widened enough that the country is reeling under massive power outages these days.
Pakistan does not have enough proven resources of fossil fuels and being a developing country does not have enough resources to import fuels for power generation purposes. The only viable alternative is to depend on less costly and clean hydroelectric potential available along the river, stream and canal constructed for irrigation.
High head hydroelectric projects can be more economical compared to any other means in Pakistan but they need more time for implementation.
Contrary to this, some low head hydroelectric projects may be less economical, but have several merits attached to them, such as shorter period from planning to completion; location close to load centers; infrastructure in the form of existing civil works and vicinity to national grid/ff grid utilisation of captive power.
Due to the advantages described, emphasis has been given to the low head hydel projects. Therefore, feasibility level studies for the construction of few low head hydropower projects on Machai Canal of Upper Swat canal system in KPK of Pakistan, allotted in private sector, shall be a useful addition in the existing generation system of the country.