The fourth generation turbine at the Tarbela Dam has finally begun generating power. This turbine, part of the 4th Extension Hydropower project, had been completed in April. Its function was put on hold due to the nonavailability of water inflow from the Indus River.
The unit is presently in its reliability period and is only generating 335 MW, 71% of its full capacity. It will gradually expand to its full capacity of 470 MW.
The project is part of the least-cost energy generation plan by Wapda which entails stabilizing the electricity tariffs of the nation by increasing the hydel power ratio in the national grid. Wapda began the project in 2012, citing the fact that the tariffs of power generated from hydel projects are overwhelmingly lower than the average electricity tariffs that the people of Pakistan have to pay. The project will, of course, help alleviate the woes of load shedding as well.
Upon completion of the project, the total hydel potential of the Tarbela Dam will increase from 3478 MW to 4888 MW. It will provide 3.84 billion units of power to the national grid annually and make up its cost in the initial three years of its operation. The benefits of the project have been estimated to be PKR 30 Billion.