Pakistan and Islamic Development Bank on Wednesday inaugurated 113 kilometre power transmission lines on its border along Afghanistan as the country aims to complete its side of the $1.2 billion mega CASA-1000 project.
Minister for Energy Omar Ayub and Islamic Development Bank President Bandar Hajjar inaugurated the construction of the electricity transmission lines from Pakistan-Afghan border to Nowshera under the South Asia Central Asia Regional Trade and Transmission Project (CASA-1000) in a virtual event. The CASA-1000 project is a 1,270 kilometres power transmission line that exports surplus hydropower generated in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to Pakistan through Afghanistan. Transmission components under the project are financed by Islamic Development Bank, World Bank, European Investment Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, UK’s Department for International Development, and USAID at a total cost of approximately $1.17 billion.
Secretary Power Division Ali Raza and senior officials of power division, representatives of development partners, United Nations agencies, and other key stakeholders also witnessed the occasion.
Energy minister Ayub appreciated the efforts of member countries and support of all sponsoring partners for financing the construction of power transmission lines infrastructure in Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan under the CASA-1000 project.
“The project will support economic integration among four participating countries, through establishing the regional electricity connection and creation of an integrated electricity market and it will also positively contribute towards energy security since the energy mix of Pakistan has been strengthened through substantial amount of cross border import and export of electricity,” he said. “CASA-1000 project is not only a transformative development in economic and power sectors of Central Asia and South Asia, instead it is an inspiring model of how such development change can be best accomplished.”
The energy minister said Pakistan embarked upon taping huge indigenous potential of renewable energy. The new renewable energy policy will bring opportunities for investors.
“The government has set ambitious targets to introduce 25 percent renewable energy by 2025, and 30 percent by end of 2030 including 40 percent share of hydropower generation into energy mix of the country,” he said Hajjar of Islamic Development Bank President Bandar said the CASA-1000 project will bolster economic benefits and regional integration for member countries.
The project was initiated back in 2016. When compared with the 340,000-kilometre North American grid or the 230,000-kilometre European power system, the CASA-1000 “seems quite achievable but it will take time, long-term planning, and cooperation,” said its official website.
“When complete, the full CASA-1000 transmission lines will move electricity at high voltages between the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan (the first 477 kilometres) and from Tajikistan to Afghanistan and Pakistan (the next 750 kilometres). Even without adding any new power generation to the system, sufficient quantities of surplus electricity are available in the Central Asian countries to supply these transmission lines.”