LAHORE -  The hydel power stations, owned and operated by Wapda, delivered 33,658 million units of low-cost environment friendly hydel electricity to the national grid in 2016, as compared to 31,840 million units generated during the year 2015, said authority’s spokesperson on Saturday.

In a statement, the Wapda stated that this generation registered an increase of 1818 million units (5.7 %) when the country was in dire need of electricity. This additional contribution of hydel electricity to the national grid not only helped minimise loadshedding in the country but also lower power tariff. The main contributing factors behind this hydel generation include water releases from the reservoirs on the indent of IRSA and effective operation and consistent maintenance of the hydel power stations by Wapda.

Hydropower is the cheapest, cleanest and environment-friendly source of electricity, which plays a significant role to stabilise electricity tariff in the country.

 According to the data of Pakistan Electric Power Company (PEPCO) regarding per unit cost of electricity generated from various sources during fiscal year 2015-16, it is Rs2.15 for hydel, which is far less than per unit cost of electricity generated from all other sources. In comparison to hydel electricity, it is Rs9.07 per unit for gas, Rs11.05 for residual furnace oil (RFO), Rs17.96 for high speed diesel (HSD), Rs12.08 for coal, Rs6.86 for nuclear, Rs16.63 for wind, Rs11.95 for bagasse, Rs16.95 for solar, Rs11.27 for regasified liquefied natural gas (RLNG), and Rs10.55 per unit for electricity imported from Iran.

At present, Wapda owns 19 hydel power stations with cumulative generation capacity of 6902 megawatt (MW), which is about one third of the total installed capacity in the country. Hydroelectric plants, all over the world, have average life span of 30 to 35 years, but Wapda still successfully operates its hydel power stations, majority of which are far older than their average life. Despite aging factor, Wapda hydel power stations are still capable to be run at their maximum generation capacities.