ISLAMABAD -: The government should implement its ambitious hydro-power projects on war-footing to ensure provision of electricity on affordable rates to the people. This was stated by Engr Hussain Ahmad Saddiqui while talking to a group of technical experts at Institution of Engineers Pakistan (IEP) Rawalpindi-Islamabad Centre here. He emphasized that the private sector should also come forward to assist the government to fulfill its stipulated targets in the energy sector. The available resources should be exploited on war-footing, giving priority to early completion of the on-going projects. He noted currently only less than 12pc of gross, or about 17pc of exploitable resources, is being utilized.

Pakistan’s total hydro-power resources have been estimated at about 100,000 MW theoretical and 59,796 MW gross or technical, out of which 41,045 MW is so far considered exploitable and economical potential.

However, utilization of enormous hydropower potential is far from being realized.

At present installed capacity for hydropower generation is only 7,095 MW, excluding off-grid installations.

It is promising however that an ambitious plan has been launched to harness hydropower potential optimally, through investments by public sector as well as private sector.

Engr Siddiqui further said hydropower is recognized as reliable, sustainable, dependable, least-cost electricity and clean resource of renewable energy.

Globally, there are over 11,000 hydroelectric power plants operating in 160 countries, with an installed capacity of 1,311 GW, contributing about 20pc share to total energy-mix.

Interestingly, hydropower share of national power generation in Norway, and in many African countries, is as high as 99pc, while Brazil has 84pc, Venezuela 74pc and Canada 59pc of total grid-based electricity.

He called for detailed studies of topography, hydrology, site geology and engineering geological conditions are required. Hydropower project thus involves high capital cost and long gestation period.

There are other problems too, such as extreme weather conditions, non- availability of labour, housing and open land for project.

From the investors’ viewpoint, law and order situation is of vital importance. Madian (157 MW) and Asrit Kedam (215 MW) projects in Khyber- Pakhtoonkhaw have been suspended due to this reason.

Similarly, Munda Dam project in private sector could not come up because of resistance from the locals against their relocation.

He assured that the engineering community will fully support the government for early implementation of the on-going projects.

IEP, he added is continuously holding seminars and workshops for providing latest knowledge and know-how to young engineers for their effective participation in the socio-economic development of the country.