A U.S.-funded expansion of Pakistan's 3,480-MW Tarbela hydropower project is now complete, HydroWorld.com has learned.
Announced in Spring 2011, the US$16.5 million upgrade project saw Tarbela's total installed capacity increase by 128 MW following the repair of three hydro turbines. The investment, made via the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), also paid to train staff to operate the upgraded equipment.
"The U.S. understands that Pakistan is facing an energy crisis and we are committed to doing our part," American ambassador Richard Olson said at an inauguration ceremony earlier this week. "The work completed at Tarbela will contribute enough power to supply two million customers, and help provide relief to those suffering from extensive power shortages."
Tarbela is owned by Pakistan's Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), which said U.S. help has already added more than 650 MW of hydroelectric power to the country's grids since October 2009.
"We appreciate the support of the United States to the energy sector in Pakistan," said WAPDA chairman Syed Raghib Shah. "Projects like these will help minimize power shortages in the country."
The agency is currently seeking pre-qualification bids to supply electro-mechanical equipment for its 1,1410-MW Tarbela Dam 4th Extension project, which will use the discharge from Tarbela's Tunnel 4 to power three new turbines.
HydroWorld.com reported earlier this week that Pakistan has also been courting South Korean investors to help increase its power supply.