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ISLAMABAD: The World Bank's Board of Executive Directors has approved $450 million financing to support Pakistan's transition to renewable energy resources that reduce its reliance on fossil fuel imports and lower costs of electricity production.

According to the project documents, the $450 million of financing includes IBRD loan of $200 million with maturity time of 27 years and grace period of seven years, and IDA credit of $250 million with maturity terms of 30 years and grace period of five years.

The total cost of the project is estimated to be $727 million.

The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Hydropower and Renewable Energy Development project will help shift the national energy mix to domestic clean resources by investing in renewable energy generation, including hydropower and solar, in the province.

It will also help strengthen energy sector institutions to better manage a growing portfolio of renewable energy projects across the province.

"This project supports Pakistan's goal to become a low-carbon renewable energy-reliant economy by 2030 and contributes to its national target in reducing greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change," said Najy Benhassine, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan. "It will facilitate the expansion of renewable energy in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa by identifying and preparing solar and hydropower projects that are technically sound, environmentally and socially sustainable, and investment ready."

The project will provide low-cost and low-carbon electricity to consumers and will support the economic development of those communities near the hydropower and solar projects by revitalising infrastructure, creating jobs, and supporting the development of tourism activities.

"To scale up renewable energy in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the project includes a comprehensive skills training programme to build technical capacity in identifying investment opportunities, preparing projects, and mobilising commercial financing," said Mohammad Saqib, task team leader for the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Hydropower and Renewable Energy Development project.

"In addition, by installing solar photovoltaic systems onto hydropower assets, production capacity is expected to rise and generate greater return on investments."

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020