Kohala hydropower plant is a 1.12GW run-of-the-river project being developed on the Jhelum River in the Muzaffarabad district of Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK), Pakistan. It is one of the six hydropower projects planned to be built on the Jhelum River in the State of AJK.

A special purpose vehicle (SPV) called Kohala Hydro Company (KHCL) was formed in September 2015 to execute the hydropower project. The plant is being developed under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which classified it as an Energy Actively Promoted Projects.

The Kohala power project is estimated to require an investment of $2.36bn, making it one of biggest investments in the private sector in Pakistan. It is anticipated to generate 5,149GWh of electricity a year.

The Azad Jammu Kashmir Environmental Protection Agency (AJK EPA) approved the environmental & social impact assessment report (ESIA) of the project in December 2016. The project is expected to start commercial operations in 2025.

Kohala hydropower project location and background

The Kohala hydropower project will be located near the Siran and Barsala villages of Muzaffarabad district in AJK. It will be located downstream of the 500MW Chakothi-Hattian hydropower project and upstream of the 590MW Mahl hydropower project.

The project is being developed on build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) basis. It will have a concession period of 36 years, including six years of construction and 30 years of operation.

The Ministry of Water and Power of Pakistan signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU), in October 2008, with China International Water & Electric Corporation (CWE), a subsidiary of China Three Gorges Corporation (CTGC), for developing the project.

The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of Pakistan, in June 2011, approved the project development in accordance with the terms of the October 2008 MOU. CTGC finalized the plan to construct the hydropower project in March 2019.

Kohala hydropower plant make-up

The 1.12GW Kohala hydropower plant will be equipped with four vertical Francis turbine-generator units, each with a capacity of 275MW. In addition, two 12MW turbines will be used to generate power by capturing the ecological flow of the river downstream the dam.

The powerhouse of the project will be located 85km from Islamabad, while the dam site is 30km upstream of Muzaffarabad. The dam will have a catchment area of 14,060km² and an average annual discharge of 302m³/s.

The project will comprise a 69m-tall and 270m-long curved concrete gravity dam. It will have a crest elevation of 910m and will be connected with two spillways and four bottom outlets. Two 17.4km-long headrace tunnels will connect the dam with the main power station.

The reservoir will be 8km-long and will have a storage capacity of 19.9 million cubic meters (Mcm).

The main powerhouse is 144m-long, while the auxiliary powerhouse is a four-story frame structure.


Central Power Purchasing Agency will purchase the power generated from the Kohala project under a power purchase agreement.

Kohala hydropower project transmission details

Power generated by the main power station will be transferred to the national grid through interconnections with the 500kV Neelum Jehlum hydropower plant (HPP) - Gujranwala transmission line and the 500kV Suki Kinari HPP - Azad Pattan HPP transmission line.

The generated power from the ecological power station will be transmitted to the 132kV circuit between Hattian and Muzaffarabad-II grid station.


Financing of the $2.36bn project is proposed to be made through a combination of debt and equity at a ratio of 70:30.

Foreign banks led by the consortium of China Development Bank are expected to provide 85% of the debt financing, while local banks, led by the syndicate of Habib Bank, are expected to provide the remaining 15% debt.

Contractors involved

The joint venture of Lahmeyer International and Changjiang Survey¸ Planning¸ Design, and Research was engaged as the owner’s engineer for the project, in September 2016.

Yangtze Three Gorges Technology & Economy Development, in a joint venture with China Three Gorges Project Development, was awarded the engineering¸ procurement, and construction contract (EPC) for the project in January 2017.

National Transmission and Despatch Company is responsible for providing the interconnection infrastructure.

Bridge Factor, Allen & Overy, Lincoln’s Law Chamber, Junhe, Delloite Advisory (Hongkong), and KPMG provided advisory services for the project.

Kohala Hydro Company prepared the project ESIA with support from Hagler Bailly Pakistan (HBP), Mirza Associates Engineering Services (MAES), and Beifang Investigation Design & Research (BIDR).

SMEC undertook a feasibility study and detailed engineering designs of the Kohala hydropower project in addition to reviewing and updating the ESIA.