EBRD hoping to unlock Central Asia’s hydroelectric power with transmission line financing

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has announced a US$110 million loan to help finance a transmission line that will “help unlock the untapped hydropower potential of Central Asia.”

Called the Central Asia South Asia Electricity Transmission and Trade, or CASA-1000, the transmission line could ultimately wind from Datka, Kyrgyzstan, and through Tajikistan and Afghanistan before terminating in Peshawar, Pakistan. The line will allow Tajikistan to sell surplus electricity in the summer to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

EBRD‘s financing is intended to help Tajik utility Barki Tojik to construct a power converter station and related infrastructure in Tajikistan. Terms of EBRD’s funding dictate that Barki Tojik must undertake a series of reforms, including third-party access rules for the cross-border line and the establishment of an independent energy regulator.

“We are proud to support this program that will benefit the whole of Tajikistan,” bank president Suma Chakrabarti said. “Importantly, it enables a strategic cross-border project, which has the potential to become a ‘game-changer’ in this troubled region.”

The transmission line is also receiving funding from a number of other international lenders, including the World Bank and European Investment Bank.

“CASA-1000 demonstrates the crucial importance of cooperation of international financial institutions for global development,” Chakrabarti said. “This cooperation is especially important in Central Asia where markets do not offer funds for strategic cross-border projects.”

EBRD recently invited expressions of interest for assistance in modernizing the 126-MW Kayrakkum (also spelled Kairakkum or Qaurokkum) hydropower project.

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for HydroWorld.com.

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