Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that his government will build 10 new dams, adding that the Mohmand Dam will be completed in 2025 while the Diamer-Bhasha Dam project will finish by 2028.
Addressing the groundbreaking ceremony of the fifth tunnel of Tarbela Dam on Thursday, the PM said that Pakistan will strive to become a hub of clean electricity by 2030.
“We will try to avoid producing electricity by burning fossil fuels and instead make it through solar, air or water,” the PM said. He regretted that no one in the past had thought to build dams out of which electricity would be produced, adding that Pakistan was suffering and was currently using the most expensive electricity.
Pakistan has to rely on imported fuel to generate most of its power, adding to its massive bill of foreign currency payments that pile on the country’s trade deficit. In addition, inflation has remained a key concern for the PTI-led government that has had to deal with several issues on the economic front. Electricity tariffs form a major component of inflation in the country.
Experts believe an increased reliance on renewable energy could ease some of the burden, which would help combat green house emissions as well as its widening twin deficits (current account and trade).
PM Imran has on several occasions stressed on global warming and climate change as massive problems for Pakistan, with his billion-tree plantation programme and move towards reducing reliance on fossil fuels forming part of the strategy.
World shudders at ‘terrifying’ UN climate report
Just earlier this week, world leaders, green groups and influencers also reacted to a “terrifying” UN climate science report with a mix of horror and hopefulness as the scale of the emergency dawned on many.
US presidential envoy on climate John Kerry said the IPCC report, which warned the world is on course to reach 1.5C of warming around 2030, showed “the climate crisis is not only here, it is growing increasingly severe”.
Many interpreted the IPCC’s assessment as a clarion call to overhaul the fossil-fuel powered global economy.
PM Imran visits Dasu Dam site today to review construction work
Water crisis another problem for Pakistan
Meanwhile, PM Imran said that the country was faced with a water shortage owing to its massive population. He said his government has decided to build 10 new dams in the next 10 years, including the Diamer-Bhasha Dam and Mohmand Dam, adding that the water stored in these dams will help the needs of people and farmers.
Earlier, the PM had performed the groundbreaking of the $807 million Tarbela 5th Extention Hydropower Project (T-5), under the government’s ‘Decade of Dams 2018-28’ vision. The project will enhance Tarbela Dam’s electricity generation capacity by 1,530MW, taking it from 4,888 to 6,418MW.
The T5 project is being constructed on Tunnel No. 5 of Tarbela Dam. The World Bank is providing $390 million, while the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) will contribute $300 million.
The cumulative generation capacity of the T5 project is expected to be 1,530MW with three generating units of 510MW each. The project, scheduled to commence electricity generation by mid-2024, will provide 1.347 billion units, on average, of low-cost hydel electricity per annum to the national grid.