By Kamila Aliyeva
Direct work on the construction of a high-voltage regional power transmission line CASA-1000 is planned to be launched this year.
This line is supposed to supply Tajik and Kyrgyz electricity to Pakistan and Afghanistan, the press service of the Tajik Ministry of Energy and Water Resources reported.
The Energy Ministry noted that at the first stage it is planned to begin construction of converter substations in Tajikistan and Pakistan.
“On the territory of Tajikistan, a converter station with a capacity of 1300 mW will be built in Sangtuda. The tender for the technical part is completed. From the side of the World Bank, which is the main investor of the project, it was decided that in the beginning of March financial proposals of companies interested in the construction of this facility will be opened. If the proposals of the companies are within the budget, a corresponding contract with the winner of the tender will be signed and the physical realization of the project will begin,” the ministry said.
CASA-1000 is an interregional electricity transmission project in Central and South Asia to connect four countries - Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. It is presupposed that the project will create opportunities for the export of electricity surplus in summer period from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan to Pakistan through Afghanistan.
Implementation of this project will result in peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region. This project will bring prosperity to the nations of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. The regional CASA-1000 project will not only have economic benefits for Afghanistan and Pakistan, but it will also have a positive impact on the security situation and political stability in these countries.
Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have the world’s most abundant clean hydropower resources. Both countries have the surplus of electricity during the summer due to water cascading from the mountain ranges, while Afghanistan and Pakistan face chronic electricity shortages and cannot keep pace with demand for it.
The project initially also included transfer of electricity to Afghanistan, however the country abandoned its share of electricity due to dearth of demand, hence Pakistan will receive 1,300 megawatts of electricity.
Groundbreaking for the project took place on May 12, 2016 in Tajikistan in a ceremony attended by the Kyrgyz, Tajik, and Pakistani Prime Ministers. The total cost of CASA-1000 regional project is estimated at $1.2 billion and is expected to be completed by 2020.
Such international financial institution as the World Bank (WB), the European Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), as well as the UK government and others act as investors in the project.
In particular, for the implementation of the Tajik section of the project, the World Bank will allocate $45 million the IDB - $70 million, and the EBRD - $110 million.
Economy analysts are not very hopeful about the implementation of the project due to lack of cooperation between the countries involved. The experts note the insecurity in Afghanistan as another hurdle for the electricity transmission project.
Kamila Aliyeva is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Kami_Aliyeva
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