LAHORE: The first unit of the 96MW Jinnah Hydropower Project, which was hit by heavy flooding in 2010, has been put on a 15-day trial commission this week.

The project, a run-of-the-river scheme, is located on the River Indus adjacent to Jinnah Barrage in Mianwali district. The overall completion of the project, expected by mid-2012, will generate about 688 million units of electricity and yielding an estimated benefit of Rs6 billion annually.

The project is a component of a least-cost energy generation plan being implemented by the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA). The objective of the plan is to improve the ratio of low-cost hydel electricity in the national grid to stabilise the overall tariff in the system.

Currently, hydel energy’s share in overall energy mix is almost 32% while the average tariff for hydel electricity is Rs1.54 per unit against overall average tariff of about Rs9 per unit.

Wapda is implementing as many as seven projects, with a cumulative capacity of about 1,500MW. Of these, five projects of 400MW will be completed in 2012. The 4,500MW Diamer Bhasha Dam and the 84MW Kurram Tangi Dam have also been initiated. Construction on the 1,410MW Tarbela Dam 4th Extension and the 7,100MW Bunji Hydropower Project will begin soon as detailed engineering designs of the two projects are almost complete. The detailed engineering design of the 4,320MW Dasu Hydropower Project is also in progress, while the consultancy contract for the 740MW Munda Dam will be awarded next month.