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CASA-1000: Afghanistan Assures Security of the Electricity Transport

Thursday 17 May 2012, by Nazar TAMASHEVSKA

DUBAI (Daily Times, Zeeshan Javaid) – Under the head of Central Asia, South Asia (CASA-1000) electricity trade, Afghanistan has assured complete security for the project of electricity transmission of 1,000 megawatts (MW) of surplus electricity from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan to Pakistan having a total cost of US $873 million.

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CASA-1000 route
The initial plan is to export power in the range of 1,000 to 1,300 MW from the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan to Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is envisaged that the major share of the export will be used by Pakistan, while a relatively small quantity of power (100 to 300 MW) will be imported by Afghanistan. Pakistan has also expressed interest in increasing imports over the medium to long term beyond the initial power requirements of 1,000 MW. In order to examine the possibility of the regional electricity trade, the four countries together with the experts from the Asian Development Bank and World Bank first met in Islamabad in May 2006. Subsequent meetings to further explore the potential of regional cooperation in electricity trade were held in Istanbul and Dushanbe in June 2006 and October 2006 respectively. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed in Dushanbe that commits the countries to pursue the feasibility of the cross-border transmission interconnection and trading of electricity with the concomitant institutional and legal framework for the 1,000 MW (nominal capacity) power transfer. A Multi- Country Working Group (MCWG) was formed by the four countries and in its first meeting in Manila, the countries reconfirmed their desire in going forward with the project and agreed to accelerate its implementation so that the electricity trade can commence around 2010.
The MCWG requested the support of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to provide technical assistance for the techno-economic feasibility study to help prepare the Central Asia - South Asia Regional Electricity Market (CASAREM) power transmission project. The World Bank was also requested to support the countries through an institutional, financial, risk mitigation, and legal framework study (Commercial Assessment). Subsequently, the Terms of Reference (TOR) were prepared for the techno-economic feasibility study and commercial assessment of the Project, which were later on endorsed by the countries through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

The Two-Day Inter Governmental Council (IGC) meeting for import of electricity to Pakistan (CASA-1000) was held in Dubai comprising delegates from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzistan as well as representatives of World Bank (WB), United States Assistance for International Development (USAID), Islamic Development Bank (IDB), Asian Development Bank (ADB), International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Arab Bank.

Once an agreement matures between tetra states including Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzistan, CASA-1000 project would transmit 1,000 MW of surplus electricity from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzistan to Pakistan with power transit through Afghanistan. The total length of transmission line is 750 km while the project is planned to be on public-private partnership basis with the support of WB, IFC, ADB and IDB with total estimated cost at around $865 million.

Sources in the Pakistani Ministry of Water and Power informed that Afghan Minister Ismail Khan has assured of complete security for the project and informed the meeting that a number of important projects has been started in Afghanistan and are being provided complete security. According to the same sources, Afghanistan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan and Tajikistan have been pursuing the development of electricity trade through the establishment of a Central Asia-South Asia Regional Electricity Market (CASAREM). The project is expected to be completed at a total cost of $873 million and is expected to be commissioned in 2016.

A cross border transmission line project has been proposed for the construction of a dedicated link essentially aimed at supplying 1,300 MW of surplus hydropower available during the summer months from the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan to Pakistan. After remaining dormant for three years, the project was revitalized this year when Afghanistan, the Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the IGC meeting at Bishkek on September 20, 2011. Under the Bishkek MoU, each country is required to establish a national working group dedicated to implement CASA-1000 project.

The WB representative also termed it very important and stated that the bank is providing all the support, financial, technical, coordination and secretarial assistance and proposed to start the project construction by February 2014, while all procedural requirements including bidding, hiring of consultants would be completed.

It’s worth noting that Pakistan would import 1,000 MW from the project termed CASA-1000 while Afghanistan would import 300 MW by way of the same transport line.

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CASA-1000 Exportation Options Graph
Average Export to Afghanistan/Pakistan through CASA line with different options.

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