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Tarbela’s generation capacity to get boost by 2016

Tarbela Dam’s power generation capacity will increase to 4,888 megawatts (MW) with the completion of the fourth extension hydropower project, which will add 1,410MW to the existing capacity.

Official sources say that Tarbela will become the largest water reservoir in the country in terms of hydropower generation after the completion of the extension project, while Mangla will stay the largest water storage reservoir of the country.

The Water and Development Authority (Wapda) had already awarded civil works contract worth Rs26.053 billion to Chinese company, Sinohydro for the fourth extension project.

According to sources, the World Bank had also agreed to provide a loan of $840 million for the project. The extension project will take three and half years to complete at an estimated cost of $928 million.

After the installation of three units of 1,410MW, the generation capacity of the dam will touch 4,888MW.

On completion, the project will add 3.84 billion units per annum to the national grid. Annual benefits to be derived from the project had been estimated at Rs30.7 billion. The sources said that the project will pay back its cost in three years. The project will also be instrumental in saving foreign exchange on import of almost one million ton of furnace oil annually, required to generating equal amount of power from thermal sources.

The project will also provide a cushion to undertake rehabilitation and up-gradation of the existing Tarbela powerhouse after the completion of extension projects.

Tarbela fourth extension hydropower project is part of the government’s plan to focus on cheaper sources of power production, which is being implemented by Wapda on priority. This strategy aims at adding a sizeable amount of power to the system, while also improving the country’s energy mix.

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