MIRPUR - The first unit of the AJK-based 969MW Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project successfully completed the reliability test on Friday, paving the way for its commercial operation, it was officially said.

“Under the protocols, the unit will now be checked completely and adjustments if any will be carried out by the manufacturer/contractor,” the sources told this correspondent on Friday. The unit, the sources continued, was expected to start commercial operation thereafter. The first generating unit of Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project was synchronised with the system on April 9. The second unit was scheduled in May, however, Wapda succeeded in commissioning this unit for trial generation ahead of schedule and synchronised it with the national grid on April 22. Both generating units have provided around 20 million units of electricity for the national grid during their test run, the sources.

The 969MW Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project, located in Muzaffarabad district, has four generating units, each of them having generation capacity of 242.25MW. The remaining units are likely to commence by end June 2018 operation at one month interval each.

It is considered to be an engineering wonder, 90 percent of which exists underground in high mountainous region. The project has three main components including a 60-feet high and 160-feet long composite dam, a 52-kilometer long water way system and an underground power house. Besides, a 525 KV switch yard and transmission line have also been constructed to evacuate electricity, generated by the project.

The project will contribute about 5 billion units of electricity to the national grid annually. The total revenue generation is expected to be over Rs 55 billion annually, the sources added.