Power grid linking Sangtuda-1 HPP to Afghanistan to be introduced into operation next spring




November 4, 2009, Victoria Naumova


DUSHANBE, November 4, 2009, Asia-Plus -- A 220 kilovolt double circuit transmission line that will link the Sangtuda-1 hydroelectric power plant (HPP) on Tajikistan's Vakhsh River to the border town of Sherkan Bandar, then to Kunduz, Baglad, Pul-e-Khumri and, ultimately, Kabul in Afghanistan is expected to be put into operation in May 2010, Deputy Minister of Energy and Industries, Poulod Muhiddinov said.


According to him, construction of the power grid in the Tajik territory is in full swing, while in Afghanistan, the construction work has been carried out very slowly.  “We have sent a letter to the Afghan side, asking them to speed up the work,” Muhiddinov said.


Specialists have already determined places for power transmission poles and 420 poles will be installed from the Sangtuda-1 HPP to Nizhny Panj, he noted.


We will recall that Tajikistan Afghanistan on August 28, 2008 signed a power purchase agreement under the Regional Power Transmission Interconnection Project that was approved by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in December 2006 to tap Tajikistan's summer power surplus to meet shortfalls in neighboring Afghanistan.


The project that provides for construction of the 220 kilovolt double circuit transmission line linking the hydropower stations on Tajikistan's Vakhsh River to Afghanistan also includes new investments and upgrading in Tajikistan that will help reduce the winter power deficit by boosting the available level of generation and decreasing technical losses in the south of the country resulting in an additional 320 gigawatt-hours annually.


The total net economic benefits of regional cooperation of the project are estimated to be $114 million, split fairly evenly between the two countries.


ADB's loans - $21.5 million to Tajikistan and $35 million to Afghanistan - come from its concessional Asian Development Fund and carry a 32 year term, including a grace period of 8 years. Interest on each is charged at 1% per annum during the grace period and 1.5% during the rest of the term.  Other financiers of the project, which cost an estimated $109.5 million, are the OPEC Fund for International Development, Islamic Development Bank, Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund, and the Afghanistan and Tajikistan governments.