A major expansion of the Tarbela hydro project has been approved that will add 960MW to the scheme by 2015, and Pakistan has also cleared construction of the 84MW New Bong Escape scheme by 2011.

The Tarbela project, which will be the fourth at the complex, has been estimated to cost US$500M. The original scheme on the Indus river was started in the late 1960s and completed in the mid-70s, two expansions to the core project are being added at the same time.

Approval for the additional capacity project was given by the Private Power and Infrastructure Board to M/S Tarbela Hydro Limited and Associates, which has also been cleared to undertake feasibility studies.

The Private Power and Infrastructure Board also approved the New Bong Escape plant, which is to be built on the Jhelum river in Azad Jammu & Kashmir, just over 7km downstream of the existing Mangla dam, a 1000MW complex completed in 1967. Water will be released from the Mangla reservoir and upon discharge from the Mangla power house will be conveyed downstream by the Bong Canal to the new plant.

A month ago the Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved a US$37.7M loan to Laraib Energy for the New Bong Escape project. Other financial backers include local investors and others from Malaysia and Mauritius as well as the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), Habib Bank and National Bank of Pakistan (NBP).