Gilgit-Baltistan:US indicates willingness to back major new energy project in Pakistan

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WASHINGTON (APP): The United States has indicated it’s willingness to partly finance completion of a major new energy project in Pakistan that would help address power shortage in the country and also conserve water. “We are currently evaluating prospective projects and activities for FY 2011 funding, with the goal of selecting a major new infrastructure project that would both contribute to power generation and water management, and serve as a U.S. “signature” contribution to Pakistan’s energy sector development,” the State Department said in a report. The report, submitted to U.S. Congress, does not name any project but Islamabad has been endeavoring recently to secure international support for its ambitious multi-billion Diamer-Basha Dam in the north of the country.
According to the report “although any U.S. contribution would be a small part of such a project’s overall cost, it would help to unlock funding from multilateral banks and other donors, effectively “branding” the importance of the U.S. contribution, much as many Pakistanis remember and refer to the Tarbela Dam as the iconic U.S. project of past decades.”
The report informs Congress about the severe energy shortfalls Pakistan faces as it struggles to meet it’s growing demands and said energy is the top priority of U.S. assistance to Pakistan.
The report refers to Signature Energy Programs and recalls that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced Phase I of the energy program in October 2009 after an accelerated vetting of projects designed to produce near-term results.
These funds were designated to rehabilitate three thermal plants and the Tarbela Dam power plant, replace inefficient tube well pumps for irrigation, and provide technical assistance to promote energy efficiency and reform in the power generation and distribution companies.
“In Phase II of the program we are funding the completion of two dams (Gomal Zam and Satpara) and the accompanying irrigation systems. These dams in FATA and Gilgit-Baltistan are on track to be completed by early 2012 and ultimately will irrigate over 180,000 acres, bring power to 30,000 households, and provide 3.1 million gallons of drinking water daily. By 2012, Phase I and II projects in total will add approximately 900 MW of power generation capacity, which is enough to provide electricity to millions of households.”
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