Lahore – December 31, 2016: The hydel power stations owned and operated by the Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) delivered 33658 million units of low-cost environment friendly hydel electricity to the National Grid in 2016, as compared to 31840 million units generated during the year 2015. This generation registered an increase of 1818 million units (5.7 %) when the country is in dire need of electricity.
This additional contribution of hydel electricity to the National Grid not only helped minimize load shedding 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.
It is worth mentioning that 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 Rs.2.15 for hydel, which is far less than per unit cost of electricity generated from all other sources. In comparison to hydel electricity, it is Rs. 9.07 per unit for gas, Rs.11.05 for residual furnace oil (RFO), Rs.17.96 for high speed diesel (HSD), Rs.12.08 for coal, Rs.6.86 for nuclear, Rs.16.63 for wind, Rs.11.95 for bagasse, Rs.16.95 for solar, Rs.11.27 for regasified liquefied natural gas (RLNG), and Rs. 10.55 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 Pakistan. Hydroelectric plants, the world over, 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.