ADB approves $300m loan for power plant on Kunhar River

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a substantial loan of $300 million for the construction of a hydropower plant at river Kunar near Balakot.

On the official website of ADB it said “Pakistan is rich in hydropower resources but only around 16% of its identified hydropower potential has been harnessed. The country’s power sector is reliant on imported fuel-based power generation and is burdened with a stressed transmission and distribution network. To balance the energy mix and reduce its dependence on imported fuel, the government has committed to increase its untapped renewable energy potential in hydro, solar, and wind.

Balakot Hydropower Plant will also generate economic activity and improve the skills of local communities. During construction, the project will generate more than 1,200 jobs, about 40% of which will be sourced locally, and provide livelihood skills development for women.”

The Balakot hydropower plant will add 1,143 gigawatt-hours of clean energy to Pakistan’s energy mix and also improve the energy sector’s reliability and sustainability.

The Manila-based lending agency said the government will invest $175 million in the project. It also shared that Islamabad has requested a $280 million loan in project co-financing from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) as well.

The construction of this plant will substantially increase the revenue of the state-owned Pakhtunkhwa Energy Development Organization, which is responsible for operating hydropower plants in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. It will help reduce average daily load shedding in the province and serve the national demand.