Wapda hydel power stations deliver 33.145b units in 2015-16
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OBSERVER REPORT ISLAMABAD—The Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) hydel power stations delivered as many as 33.154 billion units of low-cost hydel electricity to the National Grid in the fiscal year 2015-16. This is the highest-ever generation from hydel source in Pakistan. Previous maximum hydel generation was 31.5 billion units which was recorded during 2014-15. According to the statistics, hydel electricity delivered to the National Grid by WAPDA during FY 2016 registered an increase of 1600 million units if compared with electricity generated in FY 2015, thus, registering 5 per cent increase.
This additional contribution of hydel electricity to the National Grid not only helped minimize loadshedding in the country but also lower power tariff. In addition to the increased water releases from Tarbela and Mangla reservoirs on the indent of IRSA, effective operation and consistent maintenance of the hydel power stations are the main contributing factors behind this record hydel generation. It is worth mentioning that hydropower is the cheapest, cleanest and environment-friendly source of electricity, which plays a pivotal role to stabilise electricity tariff in the country.
According to the data of Central Power Purchasing Agency (CPPA) regarding per unit cost of electricity generated from various sources in March 2016, it is Rs1.94 for hydel, which is far less than per unit cost of electricity generated from all other sources. In comparison to hydel electricity, it is Rs8.71 per unit for gas, Rs11.41 for residual furnace oil (RFO), Rs18.60 for high speed diesel (HSD), Rs8.98 from IPPs, Rs12.13 for coal, Rs7.27 for nuclear, Rs16.37 for wind, Rs11.90 for bagasse, Rs22.03 for solar, and Rs10.53 per unit for electricity imported from Iran.
At present, WAPDA owns as many as 19 hydel power stations with cumulative generation capacity of 6902 megawatt (MW), which is about one third of the total installed capacity in Pakistan. Hydroelectric plants, the world over, have average life span of 30 to 35 years, but WAPDA still successfully operates its hydel power stations, majority of which are far older than their mean average life. Despite aging factor, WAPDA hydel power stations are still capable to be run at their maximum generation capacities.