Hydro institute set to promote Pakistani development

15 August 2014

Pakistani hydropower is largely underdeveloped. Only 6500MW of installed capacity is currently in operation out of 54,000MW of potential. A lack of up-to-date technical competence and the retirement of experienced engineers have been identified as potential barriers to further development. The establishment of the national Hydropower Training Institute has been described as being paramount to promote the construction of hydro power projects. Rizwan Ahmad Khan from the Water and Power Development Authority gives more details.

The main public operator in charge of hydropower in Pakistan, the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), is suffering from a lack of competence linked to the progressive retirement of its experienced engineers and technicians. Other public or private operators are also lacking modern, up-to-date competence in the hydropower sector.

The French Development Agency (AFD) is a leading development agency in the hydropower sector of Pakistan and they, along with WAPDA, have identified that a lack of up-to-date technical competence at engineer, sub-engineer and technician level is one of main areas of concern and potential barriers to the development of hydropower in Pakistan.

As such the decision has been taken to establish the newly refurbished national Hydropower Training Institute (HPTI) at Mangla. The general objective of the project is to promote and facilitate the sound and skilled development of hydropower projects in Pakistan, in order to address the energy crisis and climate change issues through renewable and environment-friendly energy, along the line of Pakistani policy in that field. The HPTI is located near the Mangla Dam project being operated by WAPDA.


The national energy strategy validated by Pakistani authorities in October 2010 emphasises the need to promote hydropower projects in order to tackle the energy crisis. WAPDA is the public operator in charge of hydropower development, along with private operators under IPPs.

In order to increase the capacity of both public and private hydropower operators, the existing training centre at Mangla will be rehabilitated and transformed into a centre of excellence for hydropower. This centre will be, upon completion, the only centre in Pakistan ensuring sound and skilled development of hydropower projects in the country, both at technical and engineering levels.

The role of the HPTI is therefore paramount to promote and accompany the development of hydro power generation through the improvement of skills and diffusion of experience. The global input of capacities for public and private operators will bring a very positive contribution to climate change mitigation and adaptation in Pakistan.

WAPDA will be responsible for all sorts of management and operational issues at the HPTI. It will be run by a professional management team under which specialists in various fields are to be trained or recruited. Staff shall be on a permanent basis and eligible to receive foreign training.

Upon completion of training, the HPTI staff will be able to refine and enrich the curricula to the benefit of all students.

The HPTI will be part of the long-term capacity building programme implemented by WAPDA within its global policy of human resources development. It can be accessed by other public and private operators in the hydropower sector of Pakistan.

Currently, the HPTI has 25 employees and is fully managed and funded by WAPDA. One training director manages instructors who are giving training to junior staff and officers. During 2010 about 300 people from WAPDA received training from the institute. This included apprenticeships, junior engineers, senior engineers and technical staff. In addition, HPTI has also welcomed about 138 students from various Pakistani universities, as well as officers of Azad Jammu & Kashmir Hydro Electric Board.

HPTI is installed in very old buildings, dating back to the 1960s and relies on very limited and obsolete equipment for providing the courses. This will be addressed in the rehabilitation project. The major grant to fund this was delegated to the AFD by the European Union's Asian Investment Facility in 2013. AFD is also investing in this project from its soft loans being associated with its other hydropower projects.

European donors are strongly involved in hydropower in Pakistan. These include the European Commission, EIB, KfW, GIZ, Proparco and AFD. Any improvement of technical capacities related to design, implementation and operation and maintenance of hydropower projects will directly benefit the operations funded by these donors. This concerns both future hydropower projects as well as ongoing hydropower projects through improvement of operation and maintenance.

The training in the new HPTI will be both practical and theory and encompass at least four major fields:

• Civil works: design, construction and maintenance of power plants and dams, including their safety aspects, tunnelling, geology, topography, hydrology, and including climate change issues.
• Electro-Mechanical: design, construction and operation and maintenance of hydropower plants, monitoring.
• Finance: project optimisation, project financing, planning and feasibility studies, CDM project methodology.
• Environmental and Social: issues related to major environmental & social problems linked to dam construction and operations, in line with international best practices & standards.

The major focus for the training centre will be the members of Pakistani hydropower sector. However, it may be accessed by the international hydropower industry but this will be decided by WAPDA upon its completion. Indeed WAPDA will be interested to conduct training by international experts at the institute.

Rizwan Ahmad Khan, Member Power - WAPDA, WAPDA House, Sharah-e-Quaid-e-Azam, Lahore, Pakistan. Email: mempower@wapda.gov.pk

Mangla Construction of the Mangla Dam on the River Jhelum was completed in 1967
Mangla 2 The newly refubished National Hydropower Training Institute is located at Mangla Dam

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