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Uzbekistan set to link Afghanistan to Central Asian single energy ring

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: Uzbekistan intends to link Afghanistan to the unified energy ring of Central Asia, according to the board’s chairman of the state-owned Uzbekenergo, Ulugbek Mustafayev, Podrobno.uz reported.

“To date, Uzbekenergo has been supplying electricity to Afghanistan as part of an agreement signed by the governments of the two countries. Every year we increase the volume of electricity supplies via two interstate 220 kV transmission lines. We have already begun construction of a new Surkhan-Pul-e-Khumri line, which will connect the energy system of Afghanistan to the unified energy system of Uzbekistan and Central Asia,” he said.

Once the line operated, the energy system of Afghanistan will be connected for the first time to parallel work with the unified integrated energy system of Central Asia, according to Mustafayev.

“Such joint work will allow Afghanistan to develop mutually beneficial cooperation with all neighboring power systems. Of course, this requires appropriate personnel. Uzbekistan is ready to render its assistance to Afghanistan in the training of personnel for resolving issues of electric power regimes, issues of emergency automatics and relay protection,” the chairman said.

Uzbekistan has already started construction of a new power transmission line Surkhan-Pul-e-Khumri to Afghanistan on its territory.

“Now the feasibility study for the project is being finalized, and a contract with Uzbekistan will soon be signed for the construction of a power transmission line. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide financing. We hope to complete this project for a maximum of two years,” Senior Adviser to the President of Afghanistan on Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Muhammad Humayun Qayumi said earlier.

Once the feasibility study is approved, the work will be launched in Afghanistan.

The total preliminary cost of construction of the line will be $150 million, of which $32 million will be directed to Uzbekistan. The remaining $118 million will be sent for works in Afghanistan. The length of the line will be 260 kilometers, of which 45 will lie on the territory of Uzbekistan and 215 – in Afghanistan.

The payback period of the project is 12 years. The capacity of the new transmission line is estimated at 1,000 MW, which will allow exporting 24 million kWh per day, about 6 billion kWh per year.

The agreement on the construction of the power line was signed during the visit of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to Uzbekistan last December. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2020.

To date, Uzbekistan is one of the main suppliers of electricity for Afghanistan, where there is an acute shortage of electricity. Representatives of the Afghan side said earlier in the course of the talks that due to growing consumption they intend to further increase purchases of Uzbek energy.

Uzbekistan has been supplying electricity to Afghanistan since 2002 with annual direct contracts, taking into account the needs of the Afghan side. In 2002, the supply volume was only 62 million kWh. With each coming year this volume increased up to 200 million kWh. In 2018, a contract was signed for the supply of approximately two billion kWh of electricity.

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