TEHRAN- Iran and Afghanistan have agreed to accelerate their cooperation in the electricity sector through setting up a joint taskforce, Iranian Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian told IRNA in an interview on Saturday.
The minister said: “The Afghan president has recommended establishment of this taskforce and we are waiting for it to be set up as soon as possible”.
Referring to the agreement between the two countries on repair of turbines and transformers of Afghanistan, Ardakanian said the related tasks are underway.
Based on a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed between the two countries on August 18, Iran is going to repair damaged electric transformers and turbines of power plants in Afghanistan.
The MOU was signed by Deputy Energy Minister Homayoun Haeri and the Director General of Tavanir Organization Mohammad Hassan Motavalizadeh on the Iranian side and Amanallah Ghaleb, the Director General of Afghanistan Electricity Company, on the Afghan side.
In the MOU, the two sides emphasized the expansion of bilateral cooperation in the fields of “repairing the worn out power transmission equipment”, “construction of armor lines”, “synchronization of two countries’ grids” and other issues related to the electricity industry.
On the sidelines of his visit to a steam power plant near Kabul on August 20, head of Iran Power Plant Repairs Company, Einollah Salehi, said Iran is going to repair two turbines at Afghanistan’s power plants in the near future.
He mentioned that the repair of the second turbine will begin after the renovation of the first one and making sure that it is working properly.
The repairs will be carried out in Afghanistan by Iranian experts, he noted.
Salehi said that the renovation of damaged electric transformers will also start after the repair of two turbines.
Iran and Afghanistan are also considering realization of 16,000 megawatts potential of renewable energy projects in border areas.
“With good wind energy capacity in the two countries’ border regions, the two sides can use that capacity to generate nearly 16,000 megawatts of electricity,” Homayoun Haeri said in a meeting with Afghan Minister of Energy and Water Mohammad Gul Kholmi during his visit to Kabul on August 17.
Speaking in the meeting, Haeri mentioned the two neighbors’ great capacities for energy cooperation, saying that joining the two countries’ electricity networks could be beneficiary for both sides.
“Afghanistan’s abundant solar and water resources could make the country a major exporter of electricity in the region, and connecting to Iran’s grid is one way to accelerate this goal,” he said.
The official further added that by joining the two countries’ power networks Afghanistan would be able to export electricity to Turkey, Iraq and other countries.
He voiced Iran’s Power Generation, Distribution and Transmission Company (Tavanir)’s readiness for helping Afghanistan’s power distribution companies resolving the country’s energy issues, saying that the two sides need to make long-term and short-term planning in order to realize such cooperation.
Gul Kholmi for his part underlined his country’s willingness for expanding energy ties with Iran, saying that Afghanistan is seeking to become an energy hub in the region and the country has long term plans in this regard.
As the biggest exporter and importer of electricity in the Middle East, Iran plays a central role in power supply in the region.
It exports electricity to Pakistan, Turkey, Iraq and Afghanistan. Under swap deals, Iran exports electricity to Armenia and Azerbaijan in winter and imports in summer.
On August 20, Ardakanian said, “We have been able to fulfill our energy export commitments to our neighbors due to good rainfalls this year.”
“About 2.3 billion kWh of electricity was exported in the June to August period, the highest amount of exports in recent years,” the energy minister added.
He said the country’s electricity sector has witnessed new records in generation, exports and consumption management during the current calendar year (started on March 20).
“This year we have set new records in this sector by inaugurating 3,250 megawatts (MW) capacity of new power plants, saving 3,874 MW in peak consumption period in summer, and exporting 2.3 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity to neighboring countries in the hot season,” Ardakanian said in gathering of energy ministry’s public relation offices in Tehran.
Source; tehrantimes News Agency