Staff Reporter Islamabad
With the preparatory work completed, the Balakot Hydropower Development Project is now ready to move ahead that would generate over 1200 new jobs, about 40 percent of which will be sourced locally, the Asian Development Bank said in a statement.
It said the project would also provide livelihood skills training for women. ‘Water indeed can serve as an engine of economic growth for Pakistan,’ the statement added.
In March 21, ADB approved a $300 million loan to finance the construction of the 300-megawatt plant. The plant will incorporate seismic strengthening and climate-proofing measures and is scheduled to start operating by 2027.
It is expected to increase the hydropower share in Pakistan’s energy mix by 1200 megawatts and at the same time reduce average daily blackouts from 3.2 hours to 2 hours.
Balakot Hydropower Plant will also generate economic activity and improve the skills of local residents. In November 2019, Pakistan’s Alternative Energy Development Board approved the Alternative and Renewable Energy Policy.
As a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement, Pakistan aims to increase the share of renewable energy in total power generation to 30% by 2030.
ADB has provided assistance to Pakistan’s energy sector in recent decades and improving the sector’s efficiency will remain a focus under the Country Partnership Strategy 2021-2025.