Islamabad - Pakistan has changed its energy generation policy and instead of depending on oil-based power generation plants, the country would now be eying hydel projects in northern areas while in southern parts, coal based projects would be initiated.

The country’s energy mix is 63 percent thermal and only 37 percent, hydel, which is a total flawed energy generation mix, he said, adding, we have been able to tap only 7000 MW of hydropower, whereas the calculated potential on only Indus Cascade is 40,000 MW, said Minister for Water and Power on Wednesday here, while inaugurating Wapda house complex. This newly custom built building will function as the main office for the mega hydel projects. Asif said that in past most of the power generation projects initiated were oil based, which increased not only electricity generation cost but also dependence on imported commodity.

Briefing about the upcoming projects he said that 4500 MW Diamer Bhasha Dam is the top priority of the government and Rs. 27 billion had been released in 2013-14 budget. He said the future of Bhasha Dam project is bright, as during recent conference held in USA, USAID has agreed to finance the project.

Minister said that along with Diamer Bhasha Dam, government was also planning to construct 4320-MW Dasu hydropower project.

He said World Bank has approved funding for the stage-1 of the project, and government intends to announce a special incentive based package for the private investors to invest in Dasu. He said these all projects would consume time but they would produce cheap electricity and would be for long time. He said work on Tarbela-4 was under progress and would add 1400 MW electricity while Tarbela-5 would add additional 1400 MW to national grid. He confirmed that some IPPs have served notices for their payments, and said that they would be paid soon.

We have just received Rs.15 billion from finance, to clear dues of IPPs and we would pay them in a day or two, however remaining amount would be soon released. Asif said that circular debt has piled up to Rs. 304 billion and this amount includes recoveries from different government organisations.