The 8 MW Kathai-II hydropower project is planned to be one of the first small hydro IPPs to be commissioned in Pakistan. This small hydro segment, which is relatively underdeveloped, has recently received regulatory support in the form of the first ever Upfront Tariff and streamlined guidelines to address issues of grid interconnection and power evacuation.
The project is being developed by Kathai-II Hydro (Private) Limited. The project site is located on the Kathai Nullah in Azad Jammu & Kashmir (“AJK”) about 50 km east of Muzaffarabad, the capital of AJK. The project falls in District Hattian Bala. The nearest grid station is the 132/33/11 kV Hattain Grid Station located about 14-15 km from the site.
The project is at a relatively advanced stage of development. To date, various approvals including Letter of Intent, Feasibility Study, Grid Study and Environmental Study have been issued by relevant government agencies. Kathai-II Hydro (Private) Limited is in the process of applying to CPPA-G for issuance of consent for purchase of power from the project and to PESCO for consent for constructing and operating the interconnection facilities. After receiving these consents, the company shall apply to NEPRA for allotment of the upfront tariff for onward development of the project.
The project is envisioned to be the first of its kind in the country to utilize pressure GRP pipes for water conveyance instead of the typical approach based on concrete channels and steel penstock. GRP pipes, which are extensively used in mature small hydro markets, have various benefits including greater design flexibility, lower head losses and lower environmental impacts than concrete and steel structures. The GRP pipes shall be sourced from one of the leading European manufacturers.