LAHORE  - The hydel power stations, operated by the Wapda, have delivered 2236 million units of electricity to the national grid in August 2014 as compared to 2143 million units during the corresponding period last year.

This generation registered an increase of 93 million units at a time when the country is in dire need of electricity.

The average peak share during August 2014 remained 6355 MW against average peak share of 6166 MW in August 2013, representing an increase of 189 MW.

This increased generation and average peak sharing is due to enhanced water outflows from the reservoirs by IRSA, and efficient operation and maintenance of hydel power stations.

The role being played by hydel electricity in keeping the power tariff at present level can be measured from the fact that according to data for fiscal year 2013-14, per unit generation cost of hydel electricity is merely Rs 1.65 on an average as compared to Rs 7.53 for gas, Rs 11.66 for coal, Rs 11.74 for baggase, Rs 18.68 for furnace oil, Rs 28.41 for diesel (HSD), Rs 6.38 for nuclear and Rs 14.55 for wind.

The hydel power generation capacity of WAPDA stands at about 7000 megawatt (MW) - about one-third of the total installed capacity in the country. Hydel is the cheapest, cleanest and environment-friendly source of power generation. Pakistan's energy mix is heavily tilted in favour of costly sources of power generation.

The phased induction of low-cost hydel electricity will not only improve its ratio in the energy mix but also lower tariff and provide relief to the consumers.

Wapda is executing a least-cost energy generation plan on priority basis with a view to improving the ratio of hydel electricity in the national grid. The under-construction projects include 969-MW Neelum-Jhelum, 106-MW, Golen Gol, 1410-MW Tarbela 4th Extension, 2160-MW Dasu Stage-I and 4500-MW Diamer Bhasha Dam.

The 7100-MW Bunji hydropower project is ready for construction whereas studies for 1320-MW Tarbela 5th Extension are being conducted and the project will be taken up simultaneously with Tarbela 4th Extension.