How Access to Sustainable Energy Is Trans­form­ing Pakistan

How Access to Sustainable Energy Is Trans­form­ing Pakistan
U.S. Agency for International Development Pakistan
CDM Smith is working with USAID to provide Pakistan with sustainable, green energy sources to battle the country’s energy crisis, provide employment opportunities, enhance industrial and agricultural production, and increase the quality of life of citizens across the region.

Since the 1990s, the energy crisis in Pakistan has presented the country with several major obstacles, including periods of load shedding (deliberate system shutdowns to conserve energy and prevent failure when demand strains system capacity) as well as energy shortfalls, forcing citizens to endure blackout periods anywhere from 10 to 18 hours, and impacting the most vulnerable citizens. To address these compli­ca­tions, the Government of Pakistan (GoP) accelerated the addition of electrical capacity from 23,337 megawatts (MW) in 2014 to 38,700 MW by June of 2020— an increase of 60% in 6 years. But this new capacity revealed new challenges: high distri­b­u­tion losses, system upgrade constraints, as well as limitations to infra­struc­ture expansion—with the greatest impacts affecting the most vulnerable in Pakistan: women, the elderly and those with disabil­i­ties.

The USAID/Pakistan Energy Infra­struc­ture Monitoring Services (EIMS) project is devoted to overcoming these obstacles and strength­en­ing the energy sector of Pakistan through sustainable sources. The firm, working on behalf of USAID and in close collab­o­ra­tion with the GoP as project beneficiary, is increasing power system capacity as our world evolves from the domination of fossil fuels to cleaner energy. The CDM Smith team is serving as a third-party monitor on behalf of USAID to ensure exemplary quality of imple­men­ta­tion of energy facilities and infra­struc­ture. These efforts will deliver electricity to communities, increase the quality of life of households across the region, while also spurring socio-economic development through employment generation and expanding business oppor­tu­ni­ties.

renewable energy generated and transmitted
citizens benefitting from accessible energy

The team is leveraging public and private sector mechanisms to complete hydroelectric and wind power projects, make operational improvements, and increase efficiency and reliability of existing facilities. Monitoring and inspection, milestone and line-item review, environmental and social compliance monitoring and reporting, security, health and safety goals, and design review services are core areas of support the team is taking on. Main regions of work are located in Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), and the Pakistani-administered Azad Jammu and Kashmir regions.

The project sites in these areas are remote, some with tough terrain and high-security threats, but amid all these challenges the team's support through regular field visits overcame these hurdles and prioritized stakeholder coordination.

USAID-funded ongoing and completed work

Under EIMS, the firm is providing monitoring and quality assurance services for three major ongoing energy development projects:

Built in 1976, the Tarbela Hydropower Station had several aging generation units and its switchyard couldn't efficiently transmit energy. USAID supported the GoP with $41.5 million in funding for this hydro­elec­tric power station rehab through upgrading three power generation units and a switchyard. These upgrades supported by CDM Smith bring an additional 148 MW to the national grid and can provide electricity to one million people.

CDM Smith is also providing services on the 18.9 MW Kaitu Weir and Affiliated Power and Irrigation Elements under stage 1 of the Kurram Tangi Dam Project. USAID is providing $81 million to Pakistan for stage 1. In addition to the 18.9 MW electricity that will benefit over 138,000 people, the irrigation system will bring water to 16,380 acres of new land.

Under the $150 million Mangla Dam Reha­bil­i­ta­tion Project, CDM Smith is extending support to USAID for reha­b of eight of the ten power generation units. These efforts will increase the generation capacity by 300 MW and enhance its useful life by 30 years. This project is expected to provide electricity to 2.2 million people and give a boost to the region's agriculture and industry.

CDM Smith is proud to be a part of these initiatives to increase the country’s power generation capacity through reliable and sustainable sources.
Mohammad Tufail, chief of party

Hydropower and transmission work for GoP

The Golen Gol Hydropower Project, located in KP, is a clean energy initiative generating 108 MW of electricity. The run-of-the-river hydro project uses the natural flow of the Golen Gol River to capture its kinetic energy through micro turbines. Despite high-security constraints, challenging topography, and the remote nature of the province, the project team was able to deliver power generation materials to produce clean, sustainable energy while minimizing envi­ron­men­tal impacts. Prior to these efforts, local communities relied heavily on fossil fuels to power light sources. The area near the project site has already taken advantage of the fresh energy source: local business owners are thriving, employment oppor­tu­ni­ties have expanded, and over 790,000 people can access green energy. 

The team harnessed hydropower by construct­ing a 45 kilometer, 132-kilovolt double-circuit trans­mis­sion line from Patrind to Mansehra, and two 132-kilovolt line bays at Mansehra substation. This initiative was a vital part of the larger Patrind Hydropower Project, a run-of-river hydro­elec­tric­ity power generation plant built between the Kunhar and Jhelum Rivers. This line transfers 147 MW of electricity generated at the Patrind power station to the national grid, and spare capacity can also be transferred to grid stations in the provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab on an as-needed basis. As it stands today, several communities in this area do not have access to electricity after the 2005 Kashmir earthquake that left millions homeless, destroying already fragile infra­struc­ture. Benefitting 2 million people, this acces­si­bil­ity to electricity facilitates the estab­lish­ment of “cottage industries."

The team also completed construc­tion of substations and inter­con­nec­tion trans­mis­sion lines in the province of Sindh. The Jhimpir 1 Trans­mis­sion Project transfers 780 MW of wind power generated by private-sector owned and operated wind farms in the Jhimpir-Gharo Wind Corridor to the national grid, and the upgrades connect trans­mis­sion lines to the towns of Tando Muhammad Khan and Hyderabad in the interior of energy-starved Sindh. Benefitting over 10.6 million people, the new state-of-the-art substation and trans­mis­sion lines have signif­i­cantly reduced line losses and increased the reliability of the outdated trans­mis­sion system.

The variety of EIMS completed and ongoing activities across the country are expected  to facilitate generation and trans­mis­sion of over 1500 MW of renewable energy to Pakistan’s national grid through sustainable, green energy infra­struc­ture projects benefitting an estimated 16.72 million people. "CDM Smith is proud to be part of these initiatives to increase the country’s power generation capacity through reliable and sustainable sources. Increasing power generation will help increase industrial production, reduce carbon emissions, and will ultimately contribute to economic stabi­liza­tion of Pakistan," said Mohammad Tufail, chief of party and project manager.

Jeff Montera Jeff Montera
Our team is dedicated to working in partnership with our clients to address the diverse challenges facing our planet.
Jeff Montera, PMP Director, Inter­na­tional Development Group

International Development Projects and Insights