The Balakot hydropower project on the Kunhar River in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, Pakistan, has received a commitment of $300 Million USD from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
Funds will be amplified with Pakistan government participation totalling $175 Million USD as well as an anticipated $280 million loan in project co-financing from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
The 300MW project is expected to be commissioned by 2027 and construction will include seismic strengthening and climate-proofing measures.
In a statement, ADB Principal Energy Specialist Adnan Tareen commented: “Pakistan is highly vulnerable to climate change, with water resources and energy particularly at risk from floods, droughts, high temperatures, and other extreme weather events.
“In line with Pakistan’s climate change adaptation and mitigation priorities, this climate-resilient hydropower plant will boost the country’s clean energy generation while effectively utilizing its vast water resources.”
Balakot is expected to generate economic activity and boost skill levels in the local communities, generating approximately 1200 construction jobs.
In addition, a special community development programme will address the needs of adjacent communities, with women and vulnerable segments of the population specifically targeted. This will help to build economic resilience and improve the capacity of affected people to cope with climate change, natural disasters, and other risks.
The new facility will further boost Pakistan hydropower capacity, where only about 16 Percent of the potential has been harnessed to date. This facility will contribute to the government’s commitment to increase its untapped renewable energy potential and complement its solar and wind power programmes.