The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $300 million loan to finance the construction of a 300-megawatt hydropower plant.
The project is meant to boost clean energy and improve the country’s energy security in Pakistan.
The Manila-based bank said on Tuesday that the plant would add 1,143 gigawatt-hours of clean energy annually to Pakistan’s energy mix, enhancing its reliability and sustainability.
It said the plant, which would incorporate seismic strengthening and climate-proofing measures, would be built on the Kunhar River near Balakot City in the north-western Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.
The plant is expected to be commissioned by 2027.
ADB Principal Energy Specialist, Adnan Tareen, said in a statement that the “climate-resilient hydropower plant will boost the country’s clean energy generation while effectively utilising its vast water resources’’.
Pakistan is rich in hydropower resources, but only around 16 per cent of its identified hydropower potential has been harnessed.
The country’s power sector relies on imported fuel-based power generation and burdened with a stressed transmission and distribution network, according to the ADB.
The ADB said the Balakot Hydropower Plant would also generate economic activity and improve local communities’ skills.
During construction, the ADB said the project would create more than 1,200 jobs, about 40 per cent of which would be sourced locally, and provide livelihood skills development for women.