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Turkmenistan to export electricity to Afghanistan

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: Turkmenistan has planned to export electricity to Afghanistan from a 400 megawatt gas-fired plant.

The 400 MW Zerger plant will be built in Lebap province of Turkmenistan, approximately 600 kilometer northeast of Ashgabat.

Currently, Afghanistan produces less than 300 MW from domestic source, mainly hydropower and if we consider the thermal plants, then from diesel.

Once built and function, the Turkmen government will export power to Afghanistan for 10 years based on a power purchase agreement with Kabul. The deal is part of a project to assist in the reconstruction of Afghanistan.

According to a news report published by the Power Engineering International on its website, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) has won the contract to install the power generation system at the plant. MHPS will supply three sets of its M701 DA gas turbine and generator to the Zerger plant for national utility Turkmenenergo.

The turbines will be delivered to Sumitomo Corporation, which is the EPC contractor for the plant, which is scheduled to be operational in 2018.

Afghan government is also interested in Central Asia South Asia (CASA-1000) power project. According to Secretary General of New Beginning Network (NBN) Alias Wardak, supply of 1,000MW power from Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to Pakistan via Afghanistan as well as 300MW electricity to Afghanistan would improve political and economical ties between Islamabad and Kabul.

He said that CASA-1000 would complete within five months (summertime) at a total cost of $1.17 billion. The World Bank (WB), Islamic Development Bank (IDB), European Investment Bank (EIB) and USAID will support the project. The project will be completed by 2020 and Afghanistan will get annually $46 million in transit fee.

In Afghanistan there is potential to generate 314,500 MW of electricity from solar, wind and water, but the country still imports 76.26 percent of its power from neighboring countries.

According to statistics the 1,150 MW consuming electricity in the country 250 MW is generated from domestic resources and remaining 900 MW is imported from neighboring countries. Currently, around 40 percent Afghans have access to regular electricity. To provide electricity to all countrymen there is need for 5,000 MW.

Solar Energy is the biggest source of power for Afghanistan. Around 222,000 MW of electricity could be generated from solar energy in the country. At least 300 days are counted as sunny in the year and the remaining 65 days are cloudy. So it is a big and unique potential of Afghanistan to generate enormous amount of electricity from solar panels.

Wind energy is second major electricity generating source in the country. Around 67,000 MW of electricity can be generated by wind turbines in Afghanistan. Farah province has the potential to generate 18,000 MW of electricity from wind. At least 12,000MW could be generated in Herat province, 10,000MW in Nimroz, and 1,800MW in Helmand.

Hydropower is third source of energy generating. Afghanistan has the capacity of generating 23,000 MW of electricity by constructing hydropower dams. Additional 2,500MW could be generated from fossil fuel such as natural gas.

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