FPCCI Capital House, 5th Floor,
G-8/1, Mauve Area,
Islamabad - Pakistan (44000)
New Bong Escape HPP
Mr. Khalid Faizi, CEO of Laraib Energy Limited from 2000 to 2010, led the development and financing of the 84 MW New Bong Escape HPP , the first hydropower IPP of Pakistan (the “Project”), located near Mangla in the Azad Jammu & Kashmir. He was engaged in optimization of project capacity from 45MW to 84MW by optimizing the design and fully utilizing the water resource through design changes including additional dredging in the tailrace and raising the hydraulic head.
The project development process, starting in the late nineties, has been long and arduous, overcoming many policy and regulatory obstacles; the most important being to gain acceptance of private hydropower development in a sector which since inception was the exclusive domain of the public sector.
Private hydropower developers faced multifaceted problems of permitting, licensing, land acquisition and resettlement.
Major technical risks include hydrology, geology and seismology; with difficult construction in remote locations that could have a significant impact on project cost and tariff.
A credible mitigation framework is necessary to allocate project “risks” to the parties most able to control them. This was successfully achieved, allowing the project to move towards financial closing and construction start.
The process led by Laraib has resulted in the development of a credible policy framework and template that has enabled hydropower development in the private sector in Pakistan.
The key issue for private hydropower projects is hydrological risk. The public sector has traditionally carried this risk but there was reluctance to allow this to private projects. Several years of negotiations led to the acceptance of a “take or pay” tariff mechanism. This important step opened the way for financing of private sector hydropower projects.
Other structural issues including, but not limited to, constitutional status of the AJ&K, double taxation, special powers to AJ&K under the Electricity Act, tripartite AJ&K Implementation Agreement and others were resolved benefiting not only the Project but the whole hydropower sector.
The initial financing documents were executed with the Asian Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank and local commercial banks National Bank of Pakistan and Habib Bank Limited in June 2007.
As the process continued, other leading financial institutions showed their interest in joining the consortium for this trail blazing financing and as a result the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Societe De Pour La Cooperation Economique (Proparco) France joined the consortium. The amended and restated finance documents were executed on December 19, 2009 (all lenders) and financial close was achieved on December 20, 2009 after satisfaction of extensive lenders’ conditions precedent and achieving unconditional availability of funds; and construction started shortly thereafter.
The Project commenced commercial operations on March 23, 2013 after all PPA tests were qualified and certified by independent engineer URS, USA. Thereafter, production of ecologically friendly and renewable energy was dispatched by NPCC into the National Grid – the first time ever by the private sector. The first ten (10) years of successful commercial operations would be completed by 23 March 2023.
The Reference Tariff based on the firm EPC price and financing as notified by NEPRA is PKR 6.84 (US ¢ 8.55) per kWh levelized over the 25-year term. Energy above 470 GWh will be paid by the power purchaser at a special rate of 10% of the prevailing tariff. Hydrological risk borne by the power purchaser through guaranteed payment for 470 GWh per annum.
The first Pakistan hydropower project to be registered with UNFCCC as a CDM project under the Kyoto Protocol on January 31, 2009 entitles the Company to about 219,000 tons of CER’s per annum over a 21 year crediting period.
The Project, now in its 10th year of successful commercial operations, has supplied over 4 billion units (kWh) of clean energy into the National Grid to date.
The project developers overcame significant barriers and acted to resolve the many issues facing the nascent private hydropower sector in Pakistan and Azad Jammu & Kashmir thus creating a bankable template for the entire hydropower sector with a lead role in many areas including, but not limited to, the following:
The NBE Project has been a trailblazer for Pakistan’s hydropower IPP sector and has catalyzed development of thousands of MW of new hydropower capacity with private sector investment.