The largest energy project in the country: the Kyrgyz Republic announced the start of construction of power transmission line within the framework of CASA-1000
Kyrgyzstan announced its readiness to start in February of this year construction of power transmission line within the framework of CASA-1000. Initially, work will begin in Batken oblast, then continue in Osh and Jalal-Abad oblasts.
CASA-1000 aims to link the energy systems of Central Asia with South Asia - Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan with Afghanistan and Pakistan and develop mechanisms for electricity trading in accordance with international standards.
The project includes the modernization of the necessary power grid complex, the construction of new substations and a high-voltage transmission line, which will allow Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to export electricity in the summer to Pakistan and Afghanistan. (Infographic 1)
Construction start in the Kyrgyz Republic
The Turkish company MİTAŞ will build infrastructure facilities in the Kyrgyz Republic. The company was selected through international tender with the assistance of the International Finance Corporation, which is the consultant organization for the project in all four countries.
The start of construction is a historic moment. It was preceded by many years of discussions and approvals. Negotiations on the project began in 2007, when a memorandum of understanding was signed in Kabul on the development of the Central and South Asian regional electricity market. In 2008, the first intergovernmental council of the four countries was held in Islamabad, at which a number of key decisions were made. The parties also ordered a feasibility study of the project. The development of the document lasted until 2011. (Infographics2). The results made it clear that all participants of the priject - Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Pakistan and Afghanistan - would benefit from the implementation of CASA-1000.
Commercial operation of the CASA-1000 will begin in two years, upon completion of the construction of all necessary infrastructure. Before these, the participating countries need to lay 1.4 thousand kilometers of power lines and build converter substations in Tajikistan and Pakistan. (Infographic 3).
It is noted that a little more than a third of the transmission line (455 kilometers) from the 500 kV cell, which will be built specifically for this transmission line at the 500 kV Datka substation, will pass through the territory of the Kyrgyz Republic. From there the line will pass through Jalal-Abad, Osh and Batken regions to the border with Tajikistan. The transmission line route crosses the sparsely populated areas of the three indicated regions, passing through approximately 25 settlements that are in the immediate vicinity of the line construction route.
Environment and Mitigation
An extensive section of the project - Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) - is devoted to the study of the impact of power transmission lines on the environment and population. The main conclusions of the document are that the environmental impacts associated with the construction of the transmission lines will be short-term and can be mitigated by applying modern best construction methods. One way to reduce the impact of power lines on the local population is to define a construction corridor that is 90 meters wide. Households should not be located within this territory, since sanitary protection zones have been established in Kyrgyzstan for the laying of high-voltage power transmission lines (OHL). (Infographic 4.)
In this regard, the OJSC "National Electric Grid of Kyrgyzstan", the company that is the executive body of the project, is carrying out appropriate work on the resettlement of residents. NESK, in close cooperation with residents whose households are subject to the exemption, has prepared a resettlement action plan. At the same time, it is noted that the main component of resettlement policy is to avoid it as much as possible. In order to reduce the need for land acquisition and demolition of people's property, the most optimal design option for the transmission line route was adopted, which minimized and mitigated the impact of the project on the environment and the population.
The analysis showed that the land plots near and under the power transmission lines, upon completion of construction, can be safely used for cultivating crops, breeding and grazing livestock, building social infrastructures, without violating the norms of the so-called security zone near power transmission lines.
From the moment of operation, local communities located along the power lines in all four states (Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan) will receive 0.1 cents allowances for each exported kilowatt-hour in the following proportions: 50% - to Afghanistan and 50% - to Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Pakistan - in equal parts. The allocation of these funds is stipulated by the agreement of the CASA-1000 member countries for the development of the region.
Community Support Project.
The CASA-1000 local community support project (LCSP) in the Kyrgyz Republic is based on the involvement of residents of target villages in planning, decision-making, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of investments at the local level, as well as on capacity building activities. The CASA-1000 LCSP is implemented by the Community Development and Investment Agency of the Kyrgyz Republic (CDIA) in cooperation with the Aga Khan Foundation and covers 77 settlements (36 ayil aimaks and 5 cities) in Osh, Jalal-Abad and Batken regions.
The total funding for the community support project is estimated at $ 11 million, of which the International Development Association and $ 1 million allocated $ 10 million from the Multilateral Trust Fund. The project is being implemented in three areas: improving power supply, improving social infrastructure and financing income-generating facilities. Community members independently determine priorities, make decisions on grants, help in the implementation of rural projects and monitor their implementation.
All villages near power lines will receive one or another support depending on the proximity to the power line, as well as on the size of the settlement and its needs:
• villages located within 1.5 km from the power transmission line will receive small grants to improve the power supply and infrastructure of the village;
• all aiyl aimaks of the power transmission line impact corridor will receive support in organizing income-generating facilities, especially for young people. Funding is planned for up to 30 properties, which will be selected on a competitive basis with the participation of local communities.
CDIA experts have already carried out a large-scale campaign for the social mobilization of local residents in order to analyze the needs of the population. Taking into account the current situation, in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, changes have been made to work with communities. CDIA project staff adapt their activities to new challenges and conditions in order to achieve efficiency in project implementation. With the assistance of the World Bank, an online platform was developed, which became a discussion platform for beneficiaries. Here you can share your opinion on the choice of community priorities for the selection of subprojects that are relevant to local residents, leave video and audio messages on the implementation of the PPMS. In general, when carrying out social mobilization in communities, there is a combination of innovative IT technologies and traditional (meetings, round tables, hearings) methods of working with target groups, of course, with full compliance with sanitary standards and social distancing.
To date, in the first direction - improving power supply - the scope of work has already been determined in each of the settlements. New construction and repairs will be carried out through OJSC - "Oshelectro" and "Jalalabadelektro" and then transferred to the balance of these organizations. By the way, after the completion of the project, they will be responsible for further operation and maintenance.
From the second quarter of this year, CDIA will start working in communities in the second direction - improving social infrastructure. And already in the second half of 2021, the third area will be actively implemented: the financing of income-generating facilities. Particular attention is paid to the involvement of women and youth in the CASA -1000 LCSP.
$ 1 billion project
The total cost of the project is $ 1.1 billion. Of this $ 185 million is part of Kyrgyzstan, financed by donors - the World Bank, Islamic Development Bank and the European Investment Bank.
It should be noted that the financing was provided on concessional terms for a period of 25 to 40 years. However, Kyrgyzstan plans to recoup all investment in 15 years by exporting electricity.
Annual supplies of summer electricity from May to September, Kyrgyzstan to Pakistan and Afghanistan should average from 500 million to 1.5 billion kilowatt-hours, or 40% of the total. The remaining 60% is the export of Tajikistan. Therefore, the residents of the Kyrgyz Republic will not experience a shortage of electricity. Domestic consumer demand will remain in the first place. At the same time, the tariff for the exported electricity of the producing company of Kyrgyzstan will be 5.15 US cents per kilowatt-hour for Pakistan and 5.10 US cents per kilowatt-hour for Afghanistan. In addition, the tariff also includes 4.26 US cents per kilowatt-hour for Pakistan and 3.01 US cents per kilowatt-hour for Afghanistan, which will be used to repay loans, operate power facilities, community development fund near the CASA-1000 highway, etc. ...
It is important to note that Kyrgyzstan's obligations to supply electricity to South Asia are divided into two levels. The first one is the minimum volumes of guaranteed export, and the volume of electricity according to the second level is additional. The republic, if necessary, can distribute these volumes over the years. For example, in the first year, the Kyrgyz Republic should supply 377 million kilowatt-hours to Pakistan and Afghanistan. Another 881 million kilowatt-hours, if possible, will also be exported in the first year. If there is no such volume, then this volume will be transferred to the second or third year, etc.
The main benefit from the project that Kyrgyzstan will receive is about $ 80 million from annual electricity exports. The amount is made up of a tariff that is favorable for the republic, which does not affect the formation of the cost for domestic consumers. It is expected that it will not only cover all investments, but also give a high profit.
It should be recalled that within the country, the cost of electricity for the population is set in the range from 0.77 to 2.16 soms per 1 kilowatt-hour. The upper threshold in US currencies is below $ 0.025. With such a tariff policy, the modernization of energy facilities, especially the construction of new capacities, is simply impossible. This is the first commercially viable project in the energy sector in the entire history of the republic's independence. It will give Kyrgyzstan a good opportunity to renew the infrastructure of the energy sector.
According to the general agreement, from the beginning of commercial operation of the CASA-1000 project, it will work for 15 years, but in the case of free energy, it becomes indefinite. In this regard, there is a need for the construction of new generating capacities. Industry experts are confident that the energy project will attract investors to Kyrgyzstan interested in the construction of new hydroelectric power plants, including small hydroelectric power plants. This forecast is based on the existing and constantly growing demand for electricity in South Asia, as well as on the differences in resource cost from country to country.
Therefore, CASA-1000 has all the prospects for long-term operation and, accordingly, there will be benefits for both the country and the local community.