ISLAMABAD (ET): The government is planning to involve the World Bank in unlocking the untapped hydro power potential of Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) – somewhere close to 42,000 megawatts (MW), according to one report – in order to overcome the energy crisis. Earlier in 2011, a joint study report by WB, ADB, Aga Khan Development Network and G-B government had identified that G-B can contribute 42,000MW to the national grid.
A high-level meeting to discuss the matter was held in Islamabad, attended by representatives of WB, International Finance Corporation (IFC), water and power ministry and the G-B administration.
A top government official, who was part of the meeting, told The Express Tribune that as many as 220 potential sites for hydropower production in G-B had been identified. He said that WB and IFC representatives agreed to visit these sites in March.
“These sites have the potential to generate cheap and clean energy the capacity of which varies from 5MW to 500MW from site to site,” the official said. He added that the WB and IFC will link independent power producers (IPPs) to invest in the hydropower sector, while the government will facilitate private investors.
He added that the WB will also assist Pakistan in developing a mechanism to connect power generation in the region to the national grid. Currently, electricity generation in the region is not linked to the national grid and any production of energy in the region without linking it to the national grid is pointless.
“We will work on linking the region with the national grid so that even electricity from smaller projects can be transmitted,” the official said.