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Swedish, Spanish firms win $330m contract for converter stations

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The Inter-Governmental Council of the Central Asia-South Asia (Casa) 1,000 power supply project has announced the award of $330-million high-voltage transmission facility contracts to ABB of Sweden and Cobra Instalaciones y Servicios of Spain.

The two companies will build two high-voltage direct current (HVDC) converter stations in Tajikistan and Pakistan.

The signing agreement for the contracts took place in the presence of energy ministers, deputy ministers and other representatives of the national transmission companies of the four Casa countries – Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as representatives of international financial institutions providing project financing.

The Casa-1,000 project has been designed to transport electricity from Central Asia to South Asia by putting in place commercial and institutional arrangements and transmission infrastructure.

According to a statement, the converter stations will enable efficient transmission of renewable hydroelectric power from the generation sites in the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan to consumption centres in Pakistan via Afghanistan through a transmission system.

These contracts are the largest component of the $1.2-billion Casa system. Line routing activities have begun on three of the eight transmission line corridors.

The Casa-1,000 project will have an initial capacity to transmit 1,300 megawatts of electricity through an 800km-long HVDC transmission line in Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan and 500km interconnecting High Voltage Alternating Current (HVAC) transmission lines in the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan.

All countries participating in the Casa project have separate contracts for laying transmission lines in their territories.

Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan will export 1,000-1,300 megawatts of electricity to Pakistan and Afghanistan. Pakistan will consume a major share of exports whereas Afghanistan will receive around 300MW.

The Casa-1,000 project supports Pakistan government’s strategy to manage increasing demand for electricity and will also allow the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan to better utilise their hydropower generation.

The two countries have excess supply during warm summer months, which cannot be utilised locally, while Pakistan has an increasing demand for electricity to support its growing economy.

Casa-1,000 demonstrates Afghanistan’s role as an important energy transit country. The new, mutually beneficial transmission infrastructure will help create an economic and political bond between neighbouring countries and represents one of the first substantial economic ties between Central Asia and South Asia.

Financing is being provided by a consortium of international organisations, including the World Bank Group, Islamic Development Bank, USAID, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, European Investment Bank and UK Department for International Development.

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