ISLAMABAD, May 16: Talks for the proposed $680-million regional electricity transmission project for supplying surplus power from Tajikistan and Kyrgyz Republic to Pakistan and Afghanistan under the CASA-1000 initiative began in Dubai on Wednesday.
Federal Minister for Water and Power Syed Naveed Qamar is leading the Pakistani delegation at the two-day meeting of the Inter-Governmental Council. The talks have been sponsored by the World Bank.
Officials expressed the hope that the talks in Dubai would lead to the signing of an agreement, allowing the World Bank to initiate the project.
Under the CASA-1000, a 500kV High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) transmission system is proposed to be built that will connect Tajikistan and Pakistan through Afghanistan, an AC transmission link from the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan will connect to the HVDC line from Tajikistan to South Asia, and necessary sub-stations will be set up in Kabul, Peshawar and Sangtuda (Tajikistan).
According to the ministry of water and power here, Pakistan will import 1000MW and Afghanistan 300MW from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. The four countries signed a memorandum of understanding for the project in August 2008.
Speaking at the first session of the council meeting on Wednesday, Hilal Raza, an adviser to the ministry of water and power, said a sale agreement between the buyers and sellers should be finalised at the earliest because Pakistan was in dire need of additional sources of power.
Pakistan government was taking all possible measures to complete the project, he added.
Tajik Energy Minister Gul Sherali said under the project electricity was proposed to be supplied in the spring season. Pakistan should avail of the opportunity because it needed electricity during the season.
A World Bank expert on energy said his organisation was providing all possible support for the project and proposed that construction work on it be started by February 2014.
Tajikistan and the Kyrgyz Republic in Central Asia and Afghanistan and Pakistan in South Asia have been pursuing the development of a Central Asia South Asia Regional Electricity Market (CASAREM). The four countries have intensified their cooperation since 2005 among themselves and with the international financial institutions including the Asian Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, International Finance Corporation, the Islamic Development Bank and the World Bank.