ISLAMABAD - Minister of Water and Power Khawaja Asif said yesterday that sunlight was the most expensive source of power generation and cost of producing one unit of electricity through solar energy was Rs22.81, whereas power generation through hydel source only cost Rs 1.78.

In his written reply to a question put by lawmaker Shamasun Nisa, Khawaja Asif said electricity generation through gas cost Rs7.97, nuclear 8.33, import from Iran Rs10.49, furnace oil Rs11.74, bagasse Rs11.78, coal Rs12.06, wind Rs14.31 while power generation through high speed diesel cost Rs18.61. Answering another question, the minister highlighted different projects including solar, initiated under the regime of present government.

He said his ministry completed under construction projects on war-footing and tapped/identified various resources which included solar power projects in Lal Sohanra, wind power projects in Sindh and coal and nuclear based power plant at Thar Sindh, Sahiwal and costal area of Karachi.

Answering a question from Dr Shazia Sobia, the minister said that per unit cost of electricity had been increased from Rs4.25 in 2007 to Rs11.40 in 2016.

He said in 2007 Nepra determined cost of one unit of electricity was Rs5.31, whereas government determined tariff was Rs4.25. Giving per year details, he said the Nepra tariff escalated to Rs9.57 in year 2010, whereas government determined tariff was Rs7.29. Asif said in June 2015 the Nepra notified electricity price went up to Rs12.33, whereas the present government notified tariff was Rs11.40.

Kh Asif said construction works on the Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project was in full swing, however, no electricity was being generated from the project. It was expected to start generation by July/August 2017. Answering another question, he said government had levied Neelum-Jhelum surcharge on electricity consumers except KESC to meet part of the financing requirements of the project, which was approximately 11 percent of the project cost.

He said federal government had not received any offer from China for construction of small dams on various rivers of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab to generate electricity.

The minister said feasibility study of 4,000MW, Thakot Hydropower Project had been initiated in January 2016, which would take two years. Later on, detailed engineering design and preparation of tender documents will require another two and half years. After feasibility and detailed engineering design and tender documents, the project can be started in 2020, he said.