Turkmenistan to Supply Afghanistan with Additional 300mw of Electricity

The Energy Ministry of Turkmenistan recently commissioned a new thermal power plant that will contribute up to 3.6 million kilowatts of electricity, most of which will be utilized in order to supply Turkmenistan’s Lebap province, found in Turkmenistan’s highly restricted closed border zone with Uzbekistan. Beyond being able to provide northeastern Turkmenistan with electric power, the new power plant will produce enough energy to generate a surplus, nearly all of which will be utilized to provide neighboring Afghanistan with electric power by way of high-voltage transmission lines.

Turkmenistan currently provides substantial amounts of energy to the Afghan provinces of “Herat, Balkh and Faryab,” but with the commissioning of the new power plant, is expected to furnish up to 300mw to a range of cities beginning in Faryban province, a remote northern region that borders Turkmenistan, and stretching southeastward through a number of cities including Balkh (Mazar-i-Sharif) and from Kabul further south to Khost. The project, which is expected to reach completion in 2017, will be subsidized in part by the World Bank, which has pledged $480m, and the Afghan power ministry, Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS), which will put forward an additional $400m.

New power infrastructure, though significant in and of itself, will produce only enough energy to meet an estimated 10% of the national goal of 3,000 mw by 2020, indicating that power rationing, such as that practiced by the Tajik government, could become commonplace to rural Afghans with access to power for the very first time. Reuters reported back in 2012 that only one out of every three Afghans has access to electricity, a figure that has notameliorated, as a World Bank country analysis corroborates. The issue of consistent, unfettered access to energy remains an issue for a historically reliant Afghan government that imports up to 73% of its energy.

News Briefs: 

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