World Bank Group member IFC has announced it is to invest $100 million in its largest hydroelectric power project to date – the 720MW Karot run-of-river hydropower project on the Jhelum River in Pakistan.

The investment will be the IFC’s first project finance engagement with China Three Gorges Corporation (CTGC), one of the world’s largest renewable power companies. In 2015, IFC acquired a 15% stake in China Three Gorges South Asia Investment Limited, CTGC’s renewable energy platform company in Pakistan, to help develop a series of renewable energy projects in Pakistan that are expected to provide electricity to more than 11 million people. 

Pakistan has been suffering from a severe power deficit resulting in load shedding of over six hours per day on average, hampering the country’s economic growth and development. The Karot plant, which should be operational in five years and will cost $1.7 billion, is expected to generate 2970GWh per annum.

Pakistan represents IFC’s second-largest engagement in the Middle East and North Africa region, with over $5.6 billion in cumulative investments committed to date. IFC is supporting a number of hydropower plants in the Jhelum-Poonch Watershed, totalling some 2750MW. This has been complemented by advisory work supporting river basin management and biodiversity risk mitigation.