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World Bank approves additional $1bn for Dasu Hydropower Project

ISLAMABAD: In what can be termed a significant development for much-needed financing to generate clean, green, and economically affordable hydel electricity in Pakistan, the World Bank has approved additional financing to the tune of $1 billion for the Dasu Hydropower Project, being constructed by Wapda on River Indus.

This is the single largest financial facility provided by the World Bank for a project in Pakistan, said a press release issued on Tuesday.

This facility comprises concessional financing through the World Bank arms of IDA and IBRD.

Approval to this effect was accorded by the World Bank in its meeting. This additional financing by the World Bank reflects the trust the WB reposes in Wapda’s financial strength and professional expertise for the successful implementation of mega projects in the water and hydropower sectors, the official news agency reported.

It is important to note that the World Bank is already providing financial support of $588 million and a partial credit guarantee of $460 million for the construction of the Dasu Hydropower Project.

At present, Wapda is constructing eight mega projects worth $26 billion to add 9.7 million feet (MAF) to the water storage and double its hydel generation capacity from 9,500 to 20,000 megawatt (MW) during the next five years.

Wapda has devised an innovative financial strategy for the construction of these projects with less reliance on the national exchequer by exploiting its own financial strength. Dasu is one of these under-construction projects.

The 4,320 MW Dasu Hydropower Project is being constructed on the River Indus, upstream of Dasu Town in the Upper Kohistan District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The project is planned to be completed in two stages – each stage having a generation capacity of 2160 MW.

At present, Wapda is constructing Stage I of the project. After the successful diversion of the River Indus last year, construction work is continuing simultaneously on key sites of the project. Stage I of the Dasu Hydropower Project will start electricity generation in 2026. It will contribute 12 billion units per annum to the national grid.

Stage II will also provide another 9 billion units to the system every year.

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