Suki Kinari is arguably the best and highest ranked hydropower projects in the entire river system of Pakistan. Located in the peaceful district of Mansehra, this project had been studied in detail since 1960 by renowned international consultants like Chas T. Main, Montreal Engineering Company Limited, NESPAK and GTZ (Germany) when it was finally advertised for development in the private sector in 2005. SK Hydro hired Mott MacDonald Ltd to conduct the bankable feasibility study which confirmed the potential and benefits of this unique hydropower scheme.
Some of the major advantages of the Suki Kinari Hydropower Project are as follows:
The project is located in the Kaghan Valley in Mansehra District and is easily accessible through a paved road.
Favorable River Location
The Kunhar River originates and traverses through whole length in Pakistan’s territory thus ensuring 100% un-interrupted flow throughout Project life.
Snow Fed River
Kunhar River is a snow fed river, not a rain fed river, and hence variation in rain fall is not expected to affect river flow.
Kunhar River carries small amount of sediment and probably has the minimum sediment concentration and sediment yield per unit drainage area in the entire Indus system.
Early Rising Stream
The project is located on an early rising stream and hence maximum power may be available in May and June; the period the country’s energy requirements are acute.
No Irrigation Requirement
No irrigation network exists on the river, hence, no demands from Provincial Irrigation Department.
Run of River Project
Due to the Run of the River nature of the project, minimal hourly storage is expected and hence should have very limited effect on the environment as well as lower capital cost.
The actual project structures are located at places with sparse population. Hence, no significant resettlement issues are envisaged.
High Head Scheme
Located on Kunhar River, the head is expected to be more than 900 meters. This translates into a lower per MW cost and ability to produce enormous annual energy without a conventional reservoir.
The project is designed to provide daily four hours peaking capability, hence able to produce maximum power for up to four hours daily.
Saving in the Fuel Cost
The Project when completed will envisage a lot of saving in the fuel cost; thereby providing saving in foreign exchange due to reduction in the import of furnace oil which would have been required in case of an equivalent thermal power project.