MABAD (APP) - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide $97 million to fund a new private sector hydroelectricity plant to ease power shortages as well as creating new jobs opportunities in the country.
A statement issued by the bank here on Tuesday said that approval of $97 million loan for 147 megawatt (MW) run-of-the-river Patrind hydropower plant between Kunhar and Jhelum rivers near Muzaffarabad will help mitigate power shortages and diversify the energy mix.
The loan is being provided to Star Hydro Power Limited which is jointly owned by Korea Water Resources Corporation (K-water), along with Daewoo Engineering and Construction Company and Sambu Construction Company. Both the companies are listed on the Korea Stock Exchange.
The project marks the first investment in Pakistan's power sector by a consortium of companies from the Republic of Korea. The independent power producer (IPP) which will revert to government ownership after 30 years is expected to create 2,700 local jobs and generate over $ 240 million from purchases of local goods and services.
It will also avoid about 280,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year. The plant is expected to be up and running in 2016.
Principal Investment Specialist of ADB's Private Sector Operations Department, Takeo Koike said that the new renewable energy generating plant will power businesses and light homes across the country.
Most of Pakistan's energy is generated from imported oil, putting a severe strain on the country's finances as global oil prices rise and the local currency depreciates, he added.
ADB has played a leading role in the development of the power sector in Pakistan and the financing arrangements for the new plant draw on the experiences of the New Bong Escape Hydropower Project - Pakistan's first private hydro IPP facility, which was partly financed by ADB, he added.
He further said that ADB is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth and regional integration. In 2010, ADB approvals including co-financing totaled $17.51 billion and ongoing Trade Finance Program supported US$ 2.8 billion in trade, he added.