ISLAMABAD: The  Asian Development Bank (ADB) has  approved a $325 million loan to help enhance Pakistan’s energy security  by helping install clean energy sources and improve people’s access to electricity in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa  Province (KPP) and Punjab.

ADB will also provide a $750,000  technical assistance grant for capacity development and improvement of performance monitoring of the program.

“The project will help meet the growing energy demand to fuel economic activities and increase access to sustainable and more reliable electricity services particularly for vulnerable communities in KPP and Punjab,” said Adnan Tareen, Senior Energy  Specialist with ADB’s Central and West Asia Regional Department. “It will increase opportunities for women and girls to obtain energy services and benefits, particularly  on households headed by women.”

The program will install renewable energy power plants including the construction of 1,000 micro-hydropower plants (MHPs) in off-grid areas of KPP. It will also provide and install rooftop solar plants for 23,000 schools and over 2,500 primary healthcare facilities in two provinces and a university in  Bahawalpur, Punjab. The MHPs and solar plants will provide electricity to around 1.5 million people in rural areas and to more than 2.6 million students, including 1.2 million girls.