The president of Pakistan, Rafiq Tarar, has inaugurated the 183MW Chasma hydroelectric power project which cost around US$0.3B and took 11 years to construct.

The project comprises 8 x 23MW bulb type turbines, two of which have already been commissioned with the remaining six to be commissioned in July 2001, according to sources at the Water & Power Development Authority (WAPDA). Chasma is a run-of-river project which has been built on the right bank of the river Indus. With a total installed capacity of 184MW its turbines can generate an average of 1081M kWh of electricity, worth US$0.03B each year.

The project has been designed and supervised by Chasma Group of Consultants comprising Sogreah and CNR of France and ace, NESPAK and MAES of Pakistan. Construction has been carried out by three contracting firms: a joint venture of Hyundai of Korea, Hakas of Pakistan for the civil works, Marubeni of Japan for mechanical works and alstom of France for the electrical works.

The international portion of this US$0.3B project has been financed by the Asian Development Bank, the French Credit and Citibank of Japan. WAPDA is contributing 60% of the project cost through its own re-sources.

The president also announced at the inauguration ceremony that Pakistan has the potential to produce 40,000MW of hydro power but only 12% of this can be utilised. Through WAPDA’s Vision 2025 programme, the president said that 23,000MW of hydro power and around 80,000M m3 of water storage sites have been identified and that WAPDA is expected to identify and construct hydro projects in the public and private sectors.

The president is reported to have asked WAPDA to select power projects which are environmentally friendly and have a direct impact on alleviating poverty. He has also invited donor agencies and multinational companies to come forward and help contribute to WAPDA’s Vision 2025 programme.