Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Hydropower & Renewable Energy Development, Pakistan
SMEC was appointed by Pakhtunkhwa Energy Development Organization (PEDO) as Project Implementation Consultants to oversee two new hydropower facilities at Gabral Kalam and Madyan Sites, approximately 45 km apart.

Challenge

Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region possesses vast untapped hydropower potential, a key answer to the country’s need for reliable, affordable, and sustainable energy.  However, unlocking this potential in the scenic Swat Valley comes with a unique set of engineering and logistical hurdles. The mountainous terrain necessitates complex infrastructure challenges to construct dams, tunnels, and powerhouses, all while navigating limited access to resources and the constraints imposed by harsh winter weather.

 

Furthermore, developing hydropower projects requires a holistic approach. Ensuring long-term success demands meticulous planning to address potential environmental and social impacts.  This includes collaborating with local communities and regulatory bodies for project alignment and minimizing disruptions.

 

Solution

SMEC’s role as lead consultant includes careful review of existing detailed design / feasibility studies, refining them to deliver optimized solutions specific to the Gabral Kalam and Madyan Hydropower projects respectively. Combining these projects has enabled integrated planning in terms of energy generation, grid integration, and overall impact on the region as well as enabling synergies in terms of logistical planning, hydrological assessment, and resources.

 

Gabral Kalam HPP is located on the lower Gabral River between Kanai and Kalam villages. The proposed weir site is located approximately 14km upstream of Kalam town. A 21m high concrete gravity weir will ensure reliable water control.  A 4.7km tunnel network will convey water efficiently to the surface powerhouse (88MW). Our expertise includes associated infrastructure such as access roads and bridges, essential for both construction and ongoing operations.

 

Madyan HPP is located approximately 60 km from Mingora, the district headquarters of Swat Valley. The project concept is based partially diverting the flow of Swat River via a 19m high concrete gravity gated weir and approximately 12km long headrace tunnel to an underground powerhouse (215MW). Both facilities will adopt vertical Francis turbines, a common choice for high head hydropower plants.

 

Following heavy flooding in August 2022, the team revised the design to incorporate enhanced flood resilience measures. Robust risk management protocols and emergency response plans were prepared to safeguard workers during extreme weather conditions.

 

SMEC works closely with Project Management Office (PMO) – PEDO, independent experts and local stakeholders to incorporate feedback and ensure sustainability remains a focal point. Fish ladders have been incorporated into the dam design to promote fish migration and biodiversity conservation. SMEC is also involved with training staff and relevant governmental departments to develop expertise in hydropower management. Advanced tools such as computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and GIS modelling have augmented the decision-making process for the client and key stakeholders.

 

Food Resilience: How are the designs being specifically revised to account for greater flood risks?

Hydrology calculations were revised by taking into account the unpreceedented 2022 floods which eventually revised the weir site location at a more feasible and wider site upstream to minimise the risk of any damages to the project components in case of future flood scenarios.

 

Transmission: How will the power generated by these plants be integrated into the existing power grid? Power will be transmitted to the Natioanl Grid through 132KV and 220KV Transmission lines evacuating from Gabral Kalam and Madyan HPPs respectively.

 

Environment: What specific measures are being taken to mitigate the impact on the Swat Valley?
ESIA and RAP Reports have been developed as per the World Bank Guidelines by undertaking series of stakeholders engagements / awareness sessions, particualrly after discussions with locals and the effected community through continuous site visits, meetings and sensitising the locals about the Project Development and its Positive Inpacts on the overall Project Area Development and with provision of Social Development Schemes for the uplift of the community.

 

Powerhouse: Please explain why the Madyan powerhouse is being located underground?
Nature of the available Rock strata (Good) governed the selection of an underground Powerhouse for Madyan HPP.

 

Impact

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Hydropower & Renewable Energy Development Project stands to deliver far-reaching benefits. Upon completion, these hydropower plants will inject significant clean energy into Pakistan’s grid, addressing power shortages and reducing reliance on costly fossil fuels. This shift promotes energy security and supports Pakistan’s transition to a greener future.

88
MW
Generation Capacity Gabral-Kalam
150
m
Crest length of concrete gravity dam
4.7
km
Headrace tunnel
215
MW
Generation Capacity Madyan
77
m
Crest length of concrete gravity dam
11.8
km
Headrace tunnel