EconomicsGilgit Baltistan

Hydro Power Potential In Gilgit-Baltistan

Hydro Power Potential In Gilgit-Baltistan is not a new subject. All we know that this region can contribute 40,000 MW to the national grid while the Basha dam alone will generate 4,500 MW and the Bonji dam can generate 7,500 MW of power. Despite having huge energy potential. The GB government is facing financial constraints

The region has identified hydro project sites capable of generating 40,000 megawatts of clean and cheap power. This would not only meet the country ‘s requirements but can also be exported to receive a foreign exchange.

Hydro Power Potential In Gilgit-Baltistan: A Brief Summary of Power Production

The total power generation in Gilgit-Baltistan from 1960 to 2015, under the PWD of Gilgit-Baltistan, with a total capacity of 117.94 MW

Summary of Year-Wise Hydro Power Generation in Gilgit-Baltistan

Sr. # Year Generation (MW) Addition/Subtraction (MW) Total (MW)
1 1960-65 0.4 0 0.4
2 1966-70 0.4 0 0.4
3 1971-75 0.4 0.37 0.77
4 1976-80 0.77 2.1 2.87
5 1981-85 2.87 4.24 7.11
6 1986-90 7.11 4.39 11.5
7 1991-95 11.5 19.97 31.47
8 1996-2000 31.47 10.54 42.01
9 2001-2005 42.01 6.12 48.13
10 2006-2010 48.13 31.63 79.76
11 2011-2015 79.76 39.4 119.16
Subtract (1.22) 117.94

Note: 22 Micro Power Stations with an aggregate capacity of 1,22 MW have completed and started to appear their mechanical life.

No. of operative power stations: 118 and Net Installed Capacity: 117.940

Hydro Power Potential In Gilgit-Baltistan: Projects in Operation District-Wise in Gilgit-Baltistan

The details of the District-Wise projects in operation at Gilgit Baltistan with a total capacity of 117.94 MW. (Being run by Department of Water & Power, Gilgit- Baltistan)

Functional District-Wise Projects in Gilgit Baltistan

Sr. #  District Hydel Station
Total Installed Capacity:(MW)
1 Gilgit 23 40.400
2 Skardu 34 38.526
3 Diamer (Chilas) 19 8.700
4 Ghizer 11 9.554
5 Ghanche 09 7.460
6 Astore 08 4.820
7 H/Nagar 14 8.480
Total 118 117.940

Supply and Demand for electricity in Gilgit-Baltistan

Population Suppressed load connected is 75%.
Conservative-200 MW: Optimistic: 410 MWA
Construction average cost per MW in GB: US$ 2.0 million
The average cost of production per unit (KWh): 3- 4 cents US

Future Demand Forecast:   
2017: 551 MW
2030: 863 MW

Hydro Power Potential In Gilgit-Baltistan

1) There are 122 sub tributary sites in Gilgit-Baltistan, 772 MW of which are listed by WAPDA and GTZ (Germany).
Six sites identified by WAPDA on River Indus:
Yugo: 520 Megawatts
Skardu: 1600 Megawatt
Tungsten alloy: 2200 MW
Yulbo: 2800 Megawatt
Bunji: 7100 Megawatts
Diamer Basha: 4500 Megawatt
TOTAL: 18,720 Megawatt

2) There are 36 projects identified by W & P department GB on tributaries and sub tributaries of River Indus 204 MW. Consolidated total: 19,696 MW

Hydro Power Potential In Gilgit-Baltistan: Institutional Arrangements 

Water & Power Department GB is responsible for water project preparation, implementation and service in GB.
In addition to small hydros, WAPDA is responsible for megaprojects on River Indus under different GOP instructions.
In the absence of a National Grid, the authority of NEPRA was not yet applied to GB. The W&P department is responsible for setting tariffs with GB Government approval. GB Electricity Development Company is short to be raised.


All types of power projects exceeding 50 MW of capacity are included under the public sector, private sector (IPPs) and public-private partnership. BOOT and BOO shall apply.

GOP Renewable Energy Policy 2006: Solar, Wind, and Small Hydro Power projects covering up to 50 MW capacity. The policy provides incentives for private investment, too.

GB Hydel and Renewable Energy Policy 2007: This legislation includes projects with a potential of up to 50 MW within the public sector program. Being revised by the private sector and public-private collaboration also for the construction of hydropower projects.


Consulting services acquired for “Establishment of GB Electricity Development Company” to facilitate investors through one window operation in addition to the W&P Department’s capacity building process.

Regional Grid feasibility study completed in GB. The project aims at linking both current and potential hydropower projects to a national grid for diversity factor improvement, reducing line losses and creating an interconnecting power corridor to the National Grid. The project’s projected cost is Rs. 25 billion and is being planned to build in 3 phases.


Under “Pakistan’s Renewable Energy Policy 2006,” which is also applicable in Gilgit-Baltistan following incentives for private sector investment in the development of Hydro Power projects with a capacity of 50 MW or less are included:

Investment opportunity for the private sector  for the following categories:

  1. IPPs for sale of power to the grid only.
  2. Captive Power cum grid spillover projects for self-use and sale to the utility.
  3. Captive power projects for self or dedicated use.
  4. Isolated grid power projects of 5 MW and below.
  5. Except for category 1(a) above, the projects will not require any LOI, LOS or IA.
  6. It permits an investor to generate electricity from hydropower project at one location and receive an equivalent amount of energy for own use elsewhere on the grid at investors’ own cost of generation plus transmission charges (wheeling concept / Energy Banking).
  7. It permits “Net Metering and Billing”. A power producer can sell surplus energy at one time and receive electricity from the grid at another time and settle accounts on a net basis.
  8. Simplified principles of tariff determination.
  9. Insulates the investor from hydrological variability risk.
  10. It facilitates projects to obtain carbon credits for avoided greenhouse gas emissions, helping financial returns and reducing energy costs for the purchaser and in turn the consumers.
  11. Off-grid hydropower projects can be developed for supply to a local community by corporate entities, NGOs, or individuals at any location with the approval of the Provincial Government. For such projects, simplified procedural arrangements can be developed by the provincial government.
  12. No Custom Duty or Sales Tax for machinery and types of equipment with spares requiring an import and not manufactured in the country for initial installation for renewable energy projects.
  13. Many other fiscal and financial incentives. Details can be seen from the Renewable Energy Policy 2006.


  • Less revenue receipt due to lower load factors for repayment to the IPPs.
  • The affordable energy cost for the consumers in case of power purchased from IPPs.
  • GOP may not permit any subsidy under the present policy.
  • Noninterconnection of GB with the national grid.
  • NEPRA’s role in GB.
  • Capacity building of the power utility.
  • The tendency of high electricity pilferage.


  1. Establishment of the regional grid in Gilgit-Baltistan to interlink all the power potential sites.
  2. Investment in the field of Captive Power & Energy Banking. Industry and hydropower development may take place simultaneously.
  3. The main purpose of club hydropower development with other industries would enable private investors to offer affordable tariffs.
  4. Power Projects through IPPs would be viable for megaprojects on the Indus River through PPIB/WAPDA. Commencement of physical work on high voltage transmission line by WAPDA for interconnection to the national grid may take place simultaneously
  5. The project through IPPs can be developed simultaneously at the identified sites near to Bunji and Diamar/Basha projects to supply power to WAPDA during the implementation of these vital projects.

Read also: The local government system in Gilgit Baltistan

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