Electricity trade among ECO countries being planned
* Pakistan proposes regulatory regime
By Khalid Mustafa
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has proposed an electric power regulatory regime at the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) energy experts’ moot held in Tehran to deliberate the plan to interconnect all member states through energy trade, an official has told Daily Times
Experts from Pakistan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan would meet soon to finalise the modalities to interconnect the ECO member states through electricity trade and proposals for integrated electricity trade system would be placed in the meeting of ECO heads of states and foreign ministers for final approval.
The official said that in the Tehran energy moot, held from June 29-30, eight working groups were formed to work out performance standards, tariffs and maintenance schedule.
He said that in the moot, Pakistan opposed the WB proposal to import electricity from Tajikistan via Kabul opting instead for importing energy via Wa Khan, an area in Afghanistan where Tajik people were in the majority and there was no law and order problem. He said experts from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan would soon meet to finalise modalities for the import of electricity from Tajikistan via Wa Khan. He said that a WB Energy Mission would visit Pakistan to deliberate related issues.
He said that ECO members would trade electricity on the barter and purchasing system. Countries would also be able to purchase electricity in case of a shortage and this trade will take place trough common grid stations. The National Engineering Services of Pakistan has been assigned to identify locations in the ECO region for common grid stations through which member countries would be interconnected.
Explaining the barter system, he said that during peak hours, a country would be able to import electricity from a country where electricity requirements will be low due to off peak timings. For example, Pakistan could import electricity during peak times from some other country like Iran or Tajikistan where there would be off peak time. He said that Pakistan was planning to export electricity to Afghanistan and some border areas of Iran where Water and Power Development Authority had its power distribution and transmission system but Iran lacked the infrastructure. Pakistan is importing about 40 megawatts of electricity from Iran, and is planning to export 40 to 50 MW of electricity to two Afghan provinces Kandahar and Khost. Pakistan wants to import 1,000 MW of electricity from Tajikistan and 750 MW from Turkmenistan. Pakistan is also planning to import electricity from Iran for the Gwadar Port.
He said that Kyrgyztan had offered to export 1,000 MW of electricity to Pakistan but the offer did not seem practical because it involved laying down transmission line through Afghanistan which was not in a position to provide security to the installations. He said that Tajikistan also wanted Pakistan to construct a hydropower project on its Ragun Dam. Afghanistan, however, had offered that Pakistan could build an 800 MW hydroelectric plant on the Kabul River and a 600 MW plant on the Kunar River claiming it was more feasible, he said.