Beijing, April 12 (IANS) The Neelum-Jhelum project, one of Pakistan’s largest hydropower stations, will see its first generator officially start supplying electricity to the national grid on Friday, the Chinese contractor said.
The project, roughly 200 km northeast of Islamabad, has four generators with a total capacity of 969 MW. The second generator will start trial operation this month, followed by the third and fourth units in the latter half of the year, according to China Gezhouba Group Co. Ltd. (CGGC), Xinhua reported.
Designed to generate 5.15 billion kilowatt-hours of clean energy annually, the project aims to ease power shortages in part of Pakistan and is estimated to generate annual revenues of PKR 45 billion ($442 million) annually, said the Chinese construction giant.
The Neelum-Jhelum project is an engineering marvel as 90 per cent of the project lies underground in high mountainous areas. The project involves constructing a dam on the Neelum River, a waterway system comprising 68-km-long tunnels and an underground powerhouse on the Jhelum River.
Construction of the project began in January 2008 after a Chinese consortium that includes CGGC and China Machinery Engineering Corp. was awarded a 21-billion-yuan contract in 2007. CGGC said the project will provide about 8,000 jobs for locals.