Quadrilateral meeting reviews $1.2bn CASA-1000 project

  • Mega project to allow export of 1300mw electricity to Pakistan, Afghanistan by 2018

The leaders of Pakistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan met here on Thursday to review the progress on the 1.2 billion dollar CASA-1000 project and vowed to take all measures for its early completion.

The quadrilateral project would allow export of 1300 megawatts of Central Asian electricity to Pakistan and Afghanistan by 2018. Besides Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the meeting was attended by Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Kyrgyz Prime Minister Sooronbay Jeenbekov.

The leaders gathered here at the mountainous resort, 36km from Dushanbe, and along the gushing waters of the Varzob river, discussed the ambitious project that would generate clean electricity through immense hydel resources. The leaders had launched the project in May 2016, terming it a win-win and mutually rewarding for all stakeholder states.

Although conceived long ago, the Nawaz Sharif government took the initiative to expedite the project leading to the historic agreement in Istanbul. The prime minister termed CASA-1000 a flagship project in the region, and said upon completion would bring a number of economic, social and environmental benefits to member countries.

He said that it would reduce the energy deficit, create jobs, improve trade and reduce carbon dioxide emissions, besides contributing to regional integration. “We must make efforts to ensure that the project is completed well in time,” he said. He termed the project an important step towards the realisation of the planned Central Asia South Asia Regional Electricity Market (CASAREM).

“It will be a good example of promoting cooperation between energy-deficient South Asia and energy-rich Central Asia,” he said. He expressed the hope that the CASA-1000 power project would not only bring revenues to Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan but also mitigate electricity shortages in Pakistan and Afghanistan and increase prospects for growth.

He reiterated the commitment of the Pakistan government to the early implementation of the project. “We need energy for socio-economic development in Pakistan and to run our industrial sector to its full potential,” he said. He hoped it would help in generating employment and uplift standard of living of the people of Pakistan.

He said that the CASA-1000 would also be a source of revenue for Afghanistan and open up greater business and investment opportunities. Prime Minister Nawaz said that it was heartening to know that five companies, all leading manufacturers like ABB, Seimens and Alstonetc, have submitted bids for converter stations to be set up at the end of the transmission line.

He said that the tenders had been floated for the transmission lines from Kyrgyzstan to Tajikistan and from Tajikistan to Afghanistan and were being evaluated. “I hope that work on these transmission lines would begin very soon,” he said and extended gratitude to President Rahmon and his team for excellent arrangements for the briefing session and work accomplished since launching of the CASA-1000 project last year.

The CASA-1000 project is scheduled to complete by 2018 under the umbrella of the World Bank. Tajikistan share in the energy export will be 70 percent while Kyrgyzstan will export 30 percent of the electricity. Afghanistan will consume 300 megawatts of the exported energy while Pakistan will receive 1000 megawatts electricity.

The project is expected to boost energy trade in the region and would lead to sustainable development. Pakistan will get a share of 1,000 megawatts of electricity while Afghanistan will get 300 megawatts. The 750-km-long transmission line from Tajikistan would pass through Afghanistan. Under the project, a total of 1,300 megawatts will be produced by Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan and would allow over five billion kilowatt-hours power for Pakistan and Afghanistan annually.

Tajikistan has surplus hydel electricity generation in summer with only five per cent of it being used, while the rest can be used to benefit the neighbouring countries. Tajikistan tops Central Asia for hydro energy resources. Its 948 rivers have a total length of 28,500km. It has half of Central Asia’s ice-covered land with over 8,000 glaciers.

Tajikistan’s two main rivers provide Tajikistan with almost 60 percent of entire regions water resources and constitute almost four percent of world’s total hydropower potential meaning. The transmission line originating from the Kyrgyz substation at Datka will run through Tajikistan’s substations of Sughda, Dushanbe, Regar and Sangtuda and then pass through Afghanistan to Pakistan with a converter station at Nowshera.



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