The World Bank has approved US $700m grant to finance the construction of the 32GW Dasu hydropower project in Pakistan. The hydroelectric power plant which is being built on the Indus River, approximately 7km upstream of the Dasu town, Kohistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; is being implemented by Pakistan’s Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA).
The World Bank’s additional financing will be used to construct the transmission line and complete the 2,160MW first phase of the plant. The entire project is estimated to cost US $4.2bn.
Upon completion, the Dasu hydropower plant will become the largest of its kind in the country, generating low-cost, renewable energy to power millions of users. The hydropower plant is expected to come online in 2023.
Importance of the hydropower plant
World Bank Pakistan country director Illango Patchamuthu said that Pakistan’s energy sector is aiming to move away from high-cost and inefficient fossil fuels towards low-cost, renewable energy to power the national grid. “Along with reforms in the tariff structure, the Dasu Hydropower Project will result in fewer imports of fossil fuels, alleviating the stress on the country’s current account balance,” he said.
In addition to providing most of the clean electricity during the summer months, the Dasu hydropower plant is expected to contribute to the socioeconomic development in Dasu and surrounding areas of the Upper Kohistan District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.
Furthermore, World Bank Task Team Leader Rikard Liden added that the Dasu hydropower plant has a low environmental footprint and is considered to be one of the best hydropower projects in the world. “It will contribute to reducing Pakistan’s reliance on fossil- fuels and producing clean renewable energy,” he affirmed.