In a significant development towards availing the financial assistance amounting to $ 840 million provided by the World Bank for construction of the 1410MW Tarbela’s 4th Extension Hydropower Project, an agreement was signed among the Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), the National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC) and a local bank to open an Escrow account for implementation of the project. Federal Water and Power Minister Khwaja Muhammad Asif, Federal Water and Power Secretary Anwar Ahmad Khan and WAPDA Chairman Syed Raghib Abbas Shah were also present on the occasion.
Tarbela’s 4th Extension Hydropower Project is a part of least-cost power generation strategy of the Government being implemented by WAPDA on priority. This strategy not only aims at adding a sizeable quantum of electricity to the national grid but also improving the ratio of low-cost hydel electricity in the overall system to stabilise the power tariff.
The project will be constructed in about four years with an estimated cost of $928 million. It is pertinent to mention that the World Bank has agreed to provide $840 million for the project.
Tarbela 4th Extension Hydropower Project will increase the generation capacity of Tarbela Hydel Power Station to 4,888MW after installation of another three units of 1410MW on Tunnel No. 4. Main dam, intake and tunnel already exist. Only construction of the powerhouse, penstock, extension of the switchyard and installation of electrical and mechanical equipment are to be undertaken for the project.
On completion, Tarbela 4th Extension Hydropower Project will provide about 3.84 billion units low-cost electricity to the National Grid per annum. Annual benefits of the project have been estimated at about Rs 30.7 billion. The project will pay back its cost in just three years. The project will also be instrumental in saving foreign exchange on import of almost one million ton of furnace oil annually, required for the equivalent generation of electricity from thermal sources. The project will also provide a cushion to undertake rehabilitation and up-gradation of the existing Tarbela Power House during the lean period.