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ADB’s grant to enhance electricity import and power supply in Afghanistan

News Central Asia

Elvira Kadyrova

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) today approved a $110 million grant to boost power supply and strengthen Afghanistan’s energy sector by improving its sustainability and promoting cross-border energy supplies from main Central Asian Suppliers.

The project will facilitate the Afghan system’s synchronous operation with the Uzbek system and the Central Asia Power System (CAPS). This will enable 500,000 new connections to households, commercial entities, and industrial customers.

Thus, the project will help address Afghanistan’s power deficit by immediately increasing power import capacity by 900 megawatts, with year-round firm energy imports of 3,000 gigawatt-hours, according to ADB Energy Specialist Nana Gurgenidze.

The project will fund the construction of 201 kilometers of a 500-kilovolt overhead transmission line from the Surkhan substation in Uzbekistan to the Khwaja-Alwan substation in Afghanistan – a key interconnection node to receive power from Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

It will also finance the expansion of a line bay, including associated equipment, at the Khwaja–Alwan substation.

The project envisages the training of local staff, including female engineers at the national power utility Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS), to manage cross-border power transfer and parallel operations, including emergency operation systems with CAPS.

ADB’s is one of Afghanistan’s largest on-budget development partners in the energy sector with cumulative commitments of $1.77 billion in grants since 2002. The project is financed from ADB’s Special Funds resources and is part of an overall $1.2 billion Energy Supply Improvement Investment Program (2015-2024).

Afghanistan heavily relies on electricity supplies from neighboring countries to meet its domestic demand. Despite significant progress since 2002, only about 34% of the population has access to grid-connected electricity.

On 30 September, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan have signed agreement on electricity purchase under Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan power transmission line project. The TAP power line, which will stretch via Herat and Farah provinces, will improve electricity access in Afghanistan. Moreover, under the second phase of this project, Afghanistan will earn $50 million yearly from electricity transit to Pakistan.

At the end of August this year, Uzbekistan and DABS signed 10-year agreement on power supplies. In 2018, a deal was stroke for the supply of approximately 2 billion kWh of electricity.

The construction of the Surkhan – Puli-Khumri transmission line will increase the supply of electricity from Uzbekistan to Afghanistan by 70% – up to 6 billion kWh per year. The power line will connect Kabul to the unified energy system of Central Asia. ///nCa, 1 October 2020


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