Import of electricity not feasible for Pakistan

Dawn, May 23, 2014

The import of electricity from Central Asian upstream countries is not feasible for Pakistan as it involves huge investments of over $2 billion for transmission line and price issue

This was stated by Deputy Director for Chinese and Central Asian Studies in Kazakhstan Farkhod Aminjonov at a dialogue on ‘Trans-Boundary Cooperation in Energy Sector’ here on Thursday.

The event was organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) in cooperation with CUTS International and FES, India.

The speaker listed four challenges in import of electricity from Central Asian countries — electricity can only be imported in summers, internal issues between upstream countries (Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan) and downstream countries (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan) over construction of dam and flows of water, huge transmission line investment of over $2 billion and the Chinese factor.

Mr Farkhod said it will be difficult for Pakistan and other countries to compete with China in import of electricity from upstream countries.

“China is a direct competitor and it has created the largest energy pipeline and grand strategy in this regard. China has already invested hugely in oil and also started building transmission line for import of electricity, leaving minor chances for South Asian to import from Central Asia,” he explained.

He also said TAPI project may not materialise soon because of energy shortage.

“It’s not a peace pipe line. The security risk of Afghanistan and competing together (India-Pakistan-Afghanistan) from other competitors like China over the purchase of electricity,” he added.

Federal Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastagir Khan said a number of energy projects like KASA 1000 from Tajikistan are in the pipeline, but these are subject to peace in FATA and Afghanistan.

The minister informed that the TAPI project is in progress and an electricity grid between Pakistan and India is under construction.

SDPI Deputy Executive Director Dr Vaqar Ahmed said that the business community in the whole region is on the same page and now it’s time to materialise past dreams. He stressed the need to bridge the gap between the government, civil society, and business community.

This news item can also be viewed at: