Islamabad, September 16, 2013 (PPI-OT): The Government of Pakistan hosted two days of meetings of the Inter-Governmental Council (IGC) for the Central Asia South Asia Electricity Transmission and Trade Project, known as CASA-1000.
The four participating governments of Afghanistan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and Pakistan signalled their commitment to developing this landmark energy project in 2014 by officially signing the IGC Resolution on Project Structure and Key Commercial Principles at the Ministerial level.
The CASA-1000 project is expected to facilitate the first electricity trade between four countries in Central Asia and South Asia, based on long-term commercial contracts for exporting 1,300 megawatts (MW) of electricity from Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan to electricity consumers in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The $1 billion investment is expected to create the conditions for sustainable hydropower trade to alleviate power supply shortages in the importing countries of South Asia while enhancing sector and budget revenues in the exporting Central Asian countries.
“We sincerely hope that the realization of CASA-1000 will take us a long way in developing further relationships between the Central Asian and South Asian countries” said Mr. Khwaja Muhammad Asif, Minister of Water and Power Pakistan.
Officials from the Government of Pakistan also noted that CASA-1000 could alleviate electricity shortages during the peak summer season when consumer demand is the highest and reduce Pakistan’s dependence on costly, carbon-intensive oil-based generation. Officials from the Government of Afghanistan noted the importance of the project in establishing the country’s role as a viable transit country and enhancing its growth prospects at a critical time.
Representatives from the Governments of Tajikistan and Kyrgyz Republic welcomed the proposed CASA-1000 project as a potential source for fiscal and power sector revenues that could be used to alleviate their acute winter energy shortages.
Through the Inter-Governmental Council, the four countries are working together to make decisions about project implementation and operation, common policies and rules, and use consistent technical, safety, and environmental standards.
Preparation activities for the project were discussed and advanced during the 2-day meetings, with progress made on plans to negotiate the commercial agreements, disclose Environment and Social Safeguard Documents, and host public consultations later in 2013. The meeting confirmed that an implementation plan for community benefit-sharing during construction and operation will need to be developed in the coming months.
During the meeting, legal consultants presented an update on the preparation of important project agreements, including the Master Agreement, Power Purchase Agreements, and Coordination Agreement. Other preparatory activities related to financing, selecting a developer and operator, finalizing the Environmental and Social Assessment, and a Benefit-Sharing plan for communities living around the corridor of the transmission line were discussed.
Pre-preparation activities for CASA-1000 have been financed by and coordinated with the Australian Agency for International Development, U.S. State Department and USAID, UK Department for International Development, Asian Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank, and the World Bank Group.
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