Tajik and Afghan energy specialists have agreed on terms for supplying Tajik electricity across the Panj river to Afghanistan. According to the Tajik Ministry of Energy and Industry, the cost of 1 kilowatt hour of Tajik electricity will be 3.5 cents for Afghanistan. The cost of Uzbek electricity for Afghanistan is currently 7.5 cents per kilowatt hour.
A source with knowledge of the negotiations, speaking on condition of anonymity said, "The sides agreed that the Afghanistan side would start receiving Tajik electricity to Pol-e Khomri from next week," but the source did not specify the volume of electricity export or whether the electricity flow from Tajikistan to Afghanistan through the Sangtuda-Konduz-Pol-e Khomri power transmission line would be for brief intervals during the spring, summer and autumn or year-round, Dushanbe’s Asia-Plus news agency reported.
Negotiations had earlier stalled on Afghanistan requesting guarantees for electrical supplies year-round, which Tajikistan was unable to agree, to as the country has experienced winter electricity shortages for the past several years.
Increasing hydro-electrical output is a key component of the Administration of Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon’s plans for improving the nation’s economy, a goal which has met with increasing resistance from neighboring Uzbekistan, which fears that further construction of hydroelectric facilities in Tajikistan could disrupt water flows essential to Uzbekistan’s agrarian base.
The new Sangtuda-Konduz-Pol-e Khomri power transmission line is likely to further increase Tajik-Uzbek tension, as according to the Tajik Ministry of Energy and Industry, as the cost of 1 kilowatt hour of Tajik electricity for Afghanistan will be less than half the cost of current Uzbek electrical imports.
By. Charles Kennedy, Deputy Editor OilPrice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com