The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

Hopes for resumption and completion of CASA-1000 project

The Central Asia-South Asia Electricity Transmission and Trade Project (CASA1000) is a $1.2 billion regional power project designed to bring the benefits of interconnectivity to four countries Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The project will contribute to fighting climate change by providing opportunities for the development and use of clean renewable hydropower. It will help develop the energy sector in all four countries while providing better and more sustainable access to energy for people and businesses. The project was approved by the World Bank Board in March 2014 with financing from the International Development Association (IDA). Hopes have increased for the resumption and completion of the project following the most recent announcement by the World Bank, which has said that it will provide money to complete the Afghan section of the project, but it is keeping close tabs on funds. A dormant project to build high-voltage power lines from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan to electricity-starved Afghanistan and Pakistan has sputtered back to life. Last month, the World Bank signaled that it would resume providing support for the project after it received requests to do so from Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan. “Construction in Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan is nearly complete and these countries have requested that CASA-1000 activities in Afghanistan resume to avoid the risk of the project becoming a stranded asset,” the bank said in a February 15 statement. The decision has been greeted with considerable enthusiasm by stakeholders. Over the weekend, Kyrgyzstan’s Energy Ministry issued a statement, co-signed by Pakistan and Tajikistan, commending the World Bank for its decision. The statement further reaffirmed the readiness of the three governments “to provide full support in fulfilling the preconditions agreed with the World Bank Board for the resumption of construction.” “This is a major step forward in the region’s commitment to energy cooperation,” the March 2 statement read. Progress on CASA-1000 was paused in August 2021, in the wake of the Islamic Emirate takeover. The World Bank says that around 18 percent of the towers in the Afghan section of the project had been erected by that stage. “During the project construction phase, the World Bank will make payments directly to the offshore accounts of international contractors and consultants, based on verification of invoices by the independent monitoring agency,” the bank said. In November, the bank approved the payment of $21 million in grants to Tajikistan for construction work and the “strengthening of local governance in communities in the project catchment area within Tajikistan.” The idea for CASA-1000, which has been under development since 2018, is for upstream nations Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to trade 1,300 megawatts of excess hydropower produced in summer with chronically electricitystarved Afghanistan and Pakistan. Ahmad Tamim

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.