Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project faces longer shutdown due to technical problems

Report by Engineering Post

The 969-MW  Neelum Jhelum Hydropower project, located both above and under- ground  near Muzaffarabad in  Azad Kashmir has been shut yet  another time for more than two months and possibility of its remaining  off for longer period of 18 to 24 months cannot be ruled out at all.

Though the exact cause has not been identified for  another longer shutdown of this major  power producer, but  it was indicated that the problem could be the  decline  in    headrace tunnel (HRT) and dewatering  of a 17 kilometer section.

Despite its  capacity of 969 MW, the project has been contributing  more than 1040 MW providing over 5 billion units of electricity annually to the national grid.

The Neelum -Jhelum Hydropower Project (NJHPP)  shutdown causes direct losses of about Rs 55 billion annually  besides  indirect impacts  owing to the costly replacement  fuel  ranging between  Rs 99 billion to Rs 150 billion.

It is pertinent to mention  that the  Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project  has been constructed  in a weak geological  and seismic-prone area. Decrease  in head race tunnel  pressure had led to  suspension of  electricity from the project  in May 2024.

Prior to its suspension,  the project  provided more than 20 billion  units of clean  and green electricity  to the national grid  since 2018.