First CPEC hydropower project in Pakistan becomes partially functional


LAHORE – The first hydropower project under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the Karot Hydropower Station, has achieved another milestone as 95 percent working on it has been completed.

CPEC is a 3,000-kilometer-long route of infrastructure projects connecting northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and the Gwadar Port in Pakistan’s Balochistan province.

On Saturday, the project closed the gates of its diversion tunnels after six years of construction, and officially started impounding water in its reservoir for future use.

Chinese engineers recalled challenges they faced during the construction of the hydropower plant.

“We spent two years working out solutions to cope with the sandstone and mudstone underground, which interrupted our grouting work. We made it after repeated trial and error. The cement used for the construction was produced locally, so we tried very hard to control temperature rise and reduce cracks in the concrete,” Zuo Yaxi, head of the Engineering Department of China Three Gorges South Asia Investment Ltd. (CSAIL), told CGTN in an interview.

The power plant is located on the Jhelum River in Punjab. With an installed capacity of 7,200 megawatts, it can generate over three billion kilowatt hours of clean energy each year.

Besides creating jobs for people in Pakistan, it would provide electricity at lower price.

China Three Gorges Corporation, a Chinese enterprise, has made investment in the project worth $1.7 billion.

Once completed, the hydropower project is expected to help reduce carbon dioxide emissions in Pakistan by 3.5 million tonnes per year, Chinese media reported.

The project is expected to be completed till April 2022.

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