WAPDA awards $355m Tarbela project to Chinese company

The Power Construction Corporation of China Ltd (PCCCL) was awarded a $354.6 million worth of contract for civil works of the 1,530MW Tarbela 5th Extension Hydropower Project by WAPDA.

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The Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) on Thursday granted a $354.6 million worth of contract to Power Construction Corporation of China Ltd (PCCCL) for civil works of the 1,530MW Tarbela 5th Extension Hydropower Project after a successful international bidding procedure.

The contract involves modification of tunnel-5, raised intake, power house, tailrace works including channel and culverts and penstocks. The project is expected to be fully completed in 37 months with first unit coming into production by end-May 2024,  by second unit by end-June and third unit by end-July 2024.

The 5th extension project is being constructed on tunnel no. 5 of Tarbela dam with approved PC-1 cost of $807 million (Rs82.36bn).

485 feet high above the riverbed Tarbela Dam forms Tarbela Reservoir with a surface area of about 250 km2. The dam was constructed for water supply but power generating capacity was added in three “extensions” that were completed in 1992.

The 700-MW Tarbela 1 (commissioned in 1977) consists of four units, 1,050-MW Tarbela 2 six units (four commissioned in 1982 and two in 1985) and 1,728-MW Tarbela 3 four units (commissioned in 1992 and 1993).

70% of the water released from Tarbela Dam  goes over the two spillways and is not utilized for power generation. Thus, construction began in 2014 on the 1,410-MW Tarbela 4 extension and construction of Tarbela 5 extension is expected to be started soon.

World Bank is granting a $390m for the project, while Asian Infrastructure Invest­ment Bank (AIIB) will be providing a $300m loan. Cumulative generation capacity of the project is expected to produce 1,530MW with three generating units of 510MW each.

Addressing the signing ceremony of the contract, Wapda Chairman Muzammil Hussain said that to increase the water storage capacity and the share of cheap and clean hydel power generation in the national grid, Wapda was building 10 projects including the Tarbela 5th Extension.

“Timely completion of these projects is important for the purpose,” he said.

The contract was signed by Project Director Tarbela 5th Extension Project Muhammad Azam Joya and PCCCL Executive Representative in Pakistan Ling Jianke.  Wapda Chairman Muzammil Hussain, World Bank Country Director Najy Benhassine, World Bank Task Team Leader Dr Rickard Liden, Wapda Member Finance Naveed Asghar, Member Water Abdul Zahir Khan Durrani, Member Power Jamil Akhtar, General Managers concerned and representatives of the project consultants were all present during the signing ceremony