“The project will help address Afghanistan’s chronic power shortage by immediately doubling the volume of power imports and ensuring long-term cost-competitive electricity supply,” read a statement issued by ADB.
Once complete, the project will provide improved access to customers and facilitate 500,000 new connections to households, commercial entities, and industrial customers.
“Demand for electricity is growing rapidly in Afghanistan and is essential for the country’s economic growth,” said ADB Energy Specialist Nana Gurgenidze.
“The project will help provide reliable and affordable electricity to households and businesses by strengthening the grid and increasing power import capacity by 900 megawatts, with year-round firm energy imports of 3,000 gigawatt-hours.”
Afghanistan relies on energy imports from neighboring countries to meet its domestic demand and despite significant progress since 2002, only about 34 percent of the population has access to grid-connected electricity.
According to the ADB, the project will finance the construction of 201km of a 500-kilovolt overhead transmission line from the Surkhan substation in Uzbekistan to the Khwaja-Alwan substation in Afghanistan – a key interconnection node to receive power from Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
It will also fund the expansion of a line bay, including associated equipment, at the Khwaja-Alwan substation and the project will allow Uzbek power into the Afghan grid under a 10-year power purchase and sales agreement signed in August 2020 by the Afghanistan and Uzbekistan governments.
In addition, staff, including female engineers at the national power utility Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS), will be trained to manage cross-border power transfer and parallel operations, including emergency operation systems with CAPS, read the statement.