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Iran to Increase Power Exports to Herat, Nimroz

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Kabul – Afghanistan and Iran on Monday signed an agreement on increased power supply to two western provinces from the neighbouring country. Iran exports 90 megawatts of electricity to Herat per hour and 10 megawatts to Nimroz. Under the agreement signed between Water and Energy Minister Ismail Khan and his visiting Iranian counterpart Majid Namjoo in Kabul, Tehran would increase power export to Herat by 50 megawatts for and Nimroz by 14 megawatts.

Khan said Iran would charge 1.50 afghanis extra per kilowatt if the consumption exceeded 200 kilowatts per hour. The agreement would expire in three years when power tariffs would be revised, said the minister, who preferred purchases from neighbouring countries at lower rates. Khan said Iran had agreed to export 50 to 100 megawatts of electricity to Farah province and a joint technical team was expected to visit the province for a survey.

To a question why new dams were not built to reduce reliance on imports, he replied the international community was yet to offer funds for mega power projects that needed a lot of time and resources. He said a dam planned on Kunar River in the east would have the capacity of producing 1,200 megawatts of electricity, but its construction required $3 billion and more than 15 years to complete.

“We have to accept the harsh reality that we have been unable to execute basic infrastructure development projects, except the road network,” Khan said, insisting that his ministry had constructed all the seven dams currently functioning in the country. He spurned as an illusion the impression that neighbouring countries would create problems if Afghanistan embarked on constructing dams on its rivers.

But his Iranian counterpart Majid Namjoo suggested Afghanistan should build water dams in consultation with its neighbours. He hoped consultations would help enhance coordination and cooperation that would eventually usher in a new era of prosperity in the region. Without going into details, Namjoo said his country had prepared a policy on shared water resources and that he had delivered its copy to his Afghan counterpart.

He said Iran had vast experience in the reconstruction sector and it desired sharing it with the Afghan brothers, but insecurity in Afghanistan had hindered efforts in this regard. (PAN)

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