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Pakistan, Islamic Republic of: Community-Based Renewable Energy Development in the Northern Areas and Chitral
(Community Development Carbon Fund)

UNFCCC Reference No.: 1713

Project Description: The project activity, located in Northern Areas and Chitral (NAC) region of Pakistan, will install 103 run-of-the-river mini and micro hydroelectricity units ranging in size from 30 kW to 350 kW and with a combined electrical generation capacity not exceeding 15 MW. These projects will supply mini-grids which will be isolated from any regional and national grids existing in the region. The Community Infrastructure Section of Aga Khan Rural Support Program (AKRSP) is responsible for ensuring the overall implementation of the proposed project activity in coordination with local community based organizations and donors. The power stations will be operated by the local communities under common property regimes. The project activity aims to provide much needed power for meeting community energy needs while reducing GHG emissions by replacing the use of diesel fuel/ fuel wood in households. The implementation of the project activity will result in a total estimated emission reductions of 612,342 tCO2e over a renewable crediting period of seven years (29 Oct 09 - 28 Oct 16) of which the CDCF will purchase 360,000 tCO2e.

Current context: The NAC region of Pakistan is facing an acute shortage of energy. The majority of the rural communities in this region have no access to electricity at all. The region has rare alpine forest resources which are being consumed at unsustainable rates for domestic use, mainly cooking and heating. Also, there is a growing trend in rural households to consume diesel fuel (which is state subsidized) for power generation. Meanwhile, The NAC offers tremendous potential to generate renewable energy primarily from hydropower as it serves as vital upper catchments for the River Indus, on which much of Pakistan's irrigation and hydroelectricity depends. The perennial flow of water from snow melt in fast flowing streams, gives the area substantial potential to produce hydroelectricity through small, off-grid projects to serve the local area.

Community Benefits: The mini-grids powered by micro and mini-hydropower projects can provide a large number of rural households in mountainous areas with electricity for both domestic and productive applications and provide motive power for milling, small enterprises, and other needs. Direct local environmental benefits will include:
  • Substituting for existing diesel-based power generation, reducing the consumption of diesel in the region. This will result in reduced local air pollution from sulphur dioxide and particulate emissions that would otherwise result from burning of diesel. There will also be reduced need to transport fossil fuels to these remote areas.
  • Reduced GHG emissions as a result of avoided burning of fossil fuels and reduced use of unsustainably harvested fire wood.
  • Reduction in the use of fuel-wood and kerosene for household cooking, heating and lighting, resulting in less indoor smoke pollution especially for women and children and reduced danger of in-house fires.
  • Reduction in deforestation and degradation of natural habitats of rare plant and animal species presently threatened by excessive cutting of wood and shrubs for cooking and heating in winters.
The project will also create opportunities for economic development in these remote communities namely by creating value added for agriculture and forestry products, for the local gems industry and tourism services. Provisions of basic amenities such as good quality power supply, television, and possibility of mobile phone networks as a result of electrification will contribute to improved quality of life. Improved health and education services are likely to be available to local people as these remote areas become more attractive for teachers and health workers to live in.

Monitoring Plan: Power house operators will keep daily logs of kWh produced through diesel gen sets for each of the 103 power plants. At the end of the month, the operator will send this information to the AKRSP office, where this information will be compiled for all sites, where the gen-sets are used. All the data will be consolidated and stored in an electronic data log at the AKRSP office. The data will be regularly updated and shared with the DOE to enable verification of ER.

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