ISLAMABAD - Afghanistan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan and Pakistan on Monday officially signed an Inter-Governmental Council (IGC) resolution to develop the CASA-1000 mw project while Power Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif has claimed arrangement of required funds to materialise the landmark energy project.
A meeting of four countries hosted by the Pakistan was held here to materialise the import of electricity under the Central Asia South Asia Electricity Transmission and Trade Project, best known as CASA-1000. The four participating governments of Afghanistan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and Pakistan signed their commitment to develop the energy project in 2014 by officially signing the IGC resolution on project structure and key commercial principles at the ministerial level meeting.
The CASA-1000 project is expected to facilitate first electricity trade between four countries in Central Asia and South Asia, based on long-term commercial contracts for exporting 1,300 megawatts (MW) of electricity from Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan to electricity consumers in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The $1 billion investment is expected to create the conditions for sustainable hydropower trade to alleviate power supply shortages in the importing countries of South Asia while enhancing sector and budget revenues in the exporting Central Asian countries. Pre-preparation activities for CASA-1000 have been financed by Australian Agency for International Development, US State Department and USAID, UK Department for International Development, Asian Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank and the World Bank Group.
Minister for Water & Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif while addressing the meeting said that CASA-1000 project would cost $1 billion as per signed resolution. He said Pakistan wants to complete the project in time because availability of low cost electricity is imperative for the country. He also said that coal-based power plants of 6600mw capacity are being installed in Balochistan province.
“We sincerely hope that the realisation of CASA-1000 will take us a long way in developing further relationships between the Central Asian and South Asian countries,” said Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Minister of Water and Power Pakistan.
Afghan Energy Minister Alhaj Muhammad Ismail also spoke ion the occasion. He was of the view that central and south Asian countries should enhance cooperation in the field of energy, as without energy no country can improve the standard of life of common people.
Meanwhile, talking to the media persons, Khawaja Muhammad Asif said that required funding for the CASA-1000 project has been arranged and World Bank (WB) and other few financial institutions would provide funding to materialise the project. He also told that two to three years would require constructing the transmission line between Tajikistan and Pakistan while Pakistan would lay the transmission line from her border at a cost of $20crore. As per the project, Pakistan will purchase 1000mw and Afghanistan will buy 300mw. He was of the view that country would witness electricity shortages during the peak summer season when consumer demand is the highest and reduce Pakistan’s dependence on costly, carbon-intensive oil-based generation.
In a statement the ministry of water and power has said that preparation activities for the project were discussed and advanced during the two day meetings of the Inter-Governmental Council (IGC) for the Central Asia South Asia Electricity Transmission and Trade Project, with progress made on plans to negotiate the commercial agreements, disclose environment and social safeguard documents, and host public consultations later in 2013. The meeting confirmed that an implementation plan for community benefit-sharing during construction and operation would need to be developed in the coming months.
During the meeting, legal consultants presented an update on the preparation of important project agreements, including the Master Agreement, Power Purchase Agreements, and Coordination Agreement. Other preparatory activities related to financing, selecting a developer and operator, finalising the Environmental and Social Assessment, and a Benefit-Sharing plan for communities living around the corridor of the transmission line were discussed.