China is equally interested in the development of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, in Pakistan’s territory, under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The Chinese government has already agreed to develop 700 megawatts Azad Pattan hydropower project under the CPEC’s framework. According to a report published by Gwadar Pro Net on Saturday, officials of the two countries at their recent meetings decided to include this project in the list of CPEC’s approved projects.
The construction work on this project will be started early next year, with financing in Chinese currency. Azad Pattan hydropower project is a run-of-the-river pondage scheme on the River Jhelum, in the Azad Jammu and Kashmir, with capability of four hours of daily peaking.
It is located near the Azad Pattan bridge upstream of 720 MW Karot hydropower project and downstream of 640 MW Mahal hydropower project. It is part of the River Jhelum hydel cascade.
The project will deliver approximately 3.3 billion units of clean, renewable energy in the grid upon its completion in 2026. Being developed under the 2002 power policy, the project will be transferred free of cost to the government after the term. Another two hydropower stations under CPEC framework will generate 1,620MW electricity and are likely to start commercial operation in next three years.
The under-construction Karot Hydropower station with an installed capacity of 760 MW at river Jhelum at a juncture of Azad Kashmir and Punjab province is expected to start commercial operation by December 2021. While Suki Kinari Hydropower Station with an installed capacity of 870 MW being constructed at River Kunhar, Naran in Mansehra District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is likely to start commercial operation by December 2022.
Earlier this year International hydropower Association (IHA) ranked Pakistan 3rd in the world for newly installed hydropower capacity. IHA also stated in its report that Pakistan manages to add 2487 MW of environment-friendly hydel electricity in 2018 following China and Brazil that added 8540 MW and 3866 MW to their systems respectively, report added.