Speaking about results of his meetings with Uzbek authorities, Wahidollah Shahrani, the deputy minister of finance, said that the project for electricity transmission from Uzbekistan to Afghanistan will be complete by the end of the third quarter of next year.
According to Mr Shahrani, US$100 million from internal sources have so far been invested in the project, along with US$108 million from India, US$80 million from World Bank, and US$20 million from Germany.
Wahidollah Shahrani said it is a project for construction of new networks for transmission of electricity between the Guzar and Surxon areas of Uzbekistan. It is 210 km long. They have taken a loan of almost US$80 million from the Islamic Development Bank to be spent on the project.
What Afghanistan direly needs is the establishment of a plant to transmit electricity from Uzbekistan’s Surkhon[darya] area to Hairatan, a border point between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan. The distance in between them is 43 km. They need US$15 million to build the electricity transmission pylons. A transformer also needs to be set up to supply electricity to Afghanistan. It will cost US$6 million. In total, the facilities that urgently need to be built on the other side of the border cost US$21 million.
Mr Shahrani said the contract is valid for 20 years, and added that the electricity will be generated from Uzbek gas sources, and that the contract is reviewed every three to five years in view of changes in fuel prices in the world.
Shahrani said work on a thermal power project with a capacity of 108 megawatts of electricity is under way with the support of the United Stated Agency for International Development, and that the project will possibly be completed and handed over to the government of Afghanistan by the month of Qaws of 1387 . With all the projects, Kabul residents will be provided with a total of 360 megawatts of electricity, and 80% of the problems of our compatriots from the lack of electricity will be addressed.
Commenting the project, Eng Ghulam Rabani Yusofzai, director-general of the Breshna [electricity] enterprise, said in the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. The extension of the 220-kilovolt electricity cable from Hairatan to Kabul and the import of electricity from Turkmenistan to Kabul started in 2003. Ninety percent of the project has so far been completed. The project work from Hairatan to Pol-e Khomri, which are 220 km apart, has been fully completed in two circuits. It is ready for use. Eighty percent of the extension work from Pol-e Khomri to Kabul has been completed.
Some extension work is still incomplete in the Khenjan area and some high parts of the Salang area. They will be completed soon. The work on construction of the Chemtala substation is under way. Almost 80% of the work is complete.
In order to coordinate the affairs related to the project inside Afghanistan and in Uzbekistan, an Afghan delegation has travelled to Uzbekistan. They discussed three issues there. First, they discussed the deadline for the completion of the extension work of a 500-kilovolt line from the substation in Guzar to the Surkhon substation, which are 220 km apart.
They said the project will be implemented and completed in the two years until 2010 and will be funded with a loan from the Asian Development Bank. The money is paid as a loan from the Islamic Development Bank.
With completion of the project, Uzbekistan will have the capacity to export 300 megawatts of electricity to Afghanistan.
The distance between the Surkhon substation and Hairatan is 43 km. We discussed and decided that two power circuits, 220 kilovolts each, should be extended so they can transmit electricity to Afghanistan.
The Uzbek side said that as a line had been established to export electricity to Afghanistan, the government of Afghanistan should invest in the [extension] project. It needs around US$10 to 13 million. We discussed and agreed on these issues.
The other issue we discussed was a long-term contract to buy electricity from Uzbekistan for 20 years. We agreed in principle on the issue. God willing, the contract will be signed in mid-February, and the process of electricity transmission will be accelerated.