ISLAMABAD         -          COVID-19 is likely to cause delay in various power projects as the government has allowed extension in the validity of Letter of Support (LOS) / Financial Closing date of 1,124 MW Kohala Hydropower Project.

While briefing the 127th meeting of the Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB) here yesterday, it was informed that various power projects in the pipeline may face delay in accomplishing critical milestones primarily due to COVID-19.

Federal Minister for Power Omar Ayub Khan chaired the meeting.

A spokesman of the Power Division said that a major milestone towards successful implementation of 1,124 MW Kohlala Hydropopwer Project in Azad Jammu and Kashmir under the CPEC framework has been achieved under which a tripartite agreement has been finalized and initialled between the China Three Gorges Company, the Government of AJ&K and the Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB), Government of Pakistan, said a spokesman of the Power Division (Ministry of Energy) here.

This will be the largest ever investment of US$ 2.4 billion in any of the IPPs in Pakistan and AJ&K.

The project will annually provide more than 5 billion units of clean and low cost electricity to the consumers in Pakistan and AJ&K.

In addition to Kohala, another hydro IPP of 102 MW Gulpur Hydropower Project located at Poonch River, District Kotli and Azad Jammu & Kashmir achieved Commercial Operation Date (COD).

Managing Director PPIB Shah Jahan Mirza further briefed the Board on the latest status of upcoming IPPs and explained that various projects in the pipeline may also experience delays in accomplishing critical milestones primarily due to COVID-19, thus projects’ sponsors are requesting support of PPIB in combating this situation.

The Board considering the genuineness of the matter allowed extension in the validity of Letter of Support (LOS) / Financial Closing Date of 1,124 MW Kohala hydropower Project and also agreed in principal to provide support to Thar coal based power generation projects in getting required extensions in the backdrop of COVID-19 crisis.

Agreeing the proposal of PPIB, the Board with the consensus of all provinces and AJ&K allowed extension in the validity of Letters of Interest (LOIs) in respect of 640 MW Mahl, 450 MW Athmuqam and 82.25 MW Turtonas-Uzghor Hydropower Projects for accommodating these IPPs under the Indicative Generation Capacity Expansion Plan (IGCEP).

The Managing Director PPIB briefed the Board that PPIB has started processing Small Hydropower Projects for the first time, therefore, standard security package agreements including Implementation Agreement (IA) are required to be in placed.

Federal Minister for Power Omar Ayub Khan while chairing the 127th meeting of the Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB) said that the GoP is determined in bringing long term energy sustainability and reliability for which renewable energy, hydropower and indigenous coal based projects are being prioritized.