The 183MW Chashma bulb hydro project has reached fruition, after 11 years of construction.

Pakistan’s President Rafiq Tarar inaugurated the plant on 27 February. It comprises 8x23MW bulb-type units, two of which were completed some years ago. The remaining two units will be commissioned in July.

The run-of-river project, built on the river Indus close to the right abutment of the Chashma barrage, is the first in Pakistan to use bulb turbines. The president was enthusiastic about using Pakistan’s network of barrages in this way.

‘These barrages have been in existence for some time but they did not attract attention as hydro generation because low head hydro turbines and generators were expensive,’ he said. WAPDA chairman Zulfiqar Ali, also present at the inauguration, said that recent developments in low head technology had made plants like Chashma compact, more efficient and cost-effective. He added that Chashma would help to meet electricity requirements, particularly in peak hours, and stabilise the network.