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Hydroelectric power production rises 5.7% in 2016

LAHORE: The hydroelectric power stations, owned and operated by the Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda), provided 33.658 billion units of low-cost and environment-friendly electricity to the national grid in the entire 2016, up 5.7% compared to 31.840 billion units generated in 2015.
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“This additional contribution of hydel electricity not only helped minimise load-shedding in the country but also brought down power tariff,” a statement quoted Wapda as saying on Saturday.
The main factors behind the increase in low-cost power generation included water releases from the reservoirs in line with the allocations made by the Indus River System Authority and effective operation and consistent maintenance of hydroelectric power stations.
Hydroelectric power is the cheapest, cleanest and environment-friendly source of electricity that plays a significant role in stabilising overall tariffs in the country.
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According to data compiled by the Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco) to determine the per-unit cost of electricity generated from various sources in fiscal year 2015-16, the hydroelectric power cost Rs2.15 per unit.
It was far lower than the per-unit cost of electricity produced from other sources. Nuclear power cost Rs6.86 per unit, gas-based electricity Rs9.07, residual furnace oil Rs11.05, re-gasified liquefied natural gas Rs11.27, bagasse Rs11.95, coal Rs12.08, wind power Rs16.63, solar power Rs16.95 and high-speed diesel Rs17.96. Power import from Iran cost Rs10.55 per unit.
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At present, Wapda owns 19 hydroelectric power stations with cumulative production capacity of 6,902 megawatts, constituting about one-third of the total installed power generation capacity in Pakistan.
Though hydroelectric power plants the world over have average life span of 30 to 35 years, Wapda boasts that it is still successfully operating its power stations, majority of which are far older than their average life.
“Despite the ageing factor, Wapda’s hydel power stations are still capable of running at their maximum generation capacities,” it said.