AQUALOGUS and its local partners also provided capacity building workshops to the executing agency, Pakhtunkhwa Energy Development Organization, on understanding the impacts of climate change, adaptation, and mitigation measures for hydropower development. The scope of the contract was extended to also include detailed studies for the feasibility analysis and extensive topographic and geological surveys.
Enter Portugal, a country at high risk of water scarcity. In recent decades, the southern European nation has witnessed decreasing annual rainfall and increases in the frequency and duration of droughts. Addressing these issues as part of adaptation to climate change is a priority of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union, which began in January 2021.
With no fossil fuel resources or reserves of its own, Portugal has depended on imports to meet domestic demand for oil and gas, just as Pakistan does. Coupled with the European Union’s targets to cut carbon emissions, this has led to growing interest and investment in renewable energy. Portugal was the first country in the world to commit to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. In October 2019, it brought forward a deadline for closing its last coal plants from 2023 to 2021. In May 2020, renewable energy sources made up 71.6% of the electricity production mix, with hydropower accounting for 27.4%. As early as March 2018, the country was producing more than enough renewable electricity to cover the total electricity demand of mainland Portugal.
To support Pakistan’s transition to cleaner energy, ADB provided preparatory technical assistance for the Balakot Hydropower Development Project (formerly the Hydropower Development Investment Project). The project is located on the Kunhar river, a tributary of the Indus River, in the Mansehra District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The required preparatory works were ensured by two consultancies, Hagler Bailly Pakistan Pvt. Ltd. and AQUALOGUS in association with M/S Zeeruk International Pvt. (Pakistan). They were hired to carry out the engineering feasibility study and the environmental impact assessment.
“The complexity of the project required an extensive coordination of communication with different players, including local partners, the executing agency, and ADB,” said AQUALOGUS Managing Director Sérgio Costa. “Our experience working with all partners has been very positive.”