Pushing for Energy Security and Trade in the Region

CAREC countries are rich in natural resources, but uneven distribution of such resources, compounded by inadequate infrastructure, means some countries continue to face shortages. Regional energy cooperation is an opportunity for

  • integration of energy markets to overcome the impact of uneven distribution of energy resources,
  • optimizing existing energy interrelationships, and
  • developing least-cost solutions to energy constraints.

Energy cooperation is stimulated by the availability of attractive energy markets in eastern and southern People's Republic of China, Pakistan, India, and Iran, along with new strategic transit opportunities for oil and gas through Turkey, Georgia, and the Russian Federation.

CAREC's Strategy for Regional Cooperation in the Energy Sector seeks to enable

  • energy security through the balanced development of the region's energy infrastructure and institutions, and stronger integration of the region’s energy markets to make available adequate volumes of commercial energy to all in a reliable, affordable, financially sustainable, and environmentally sound manner; and
  • economic growth through energy trade.

[Energy-related materials can be accessed at Senior Officials' Meetings and Energy Sector Coordinating Committee (ESCC) meetings.]

Key Projects

Nurek 500 kV Switchyard Reconstruction Project

The Nurek Hydroelectric Power Plant is powered by Tajikistan's largest water reservoir and produces more than 70% of the country's electricity. Read more

The program has mobilized more than $4.2 billion since 2001 for 36 projects, most of them aimed at expanding bilateral electricity trade and improving the regional power network. As of 2014, 23 of the projects were ongoing.

The potential of regional cooperation to change people's lives can be seen in cross-border energy trades. Over 300 megawatts of power from Uzbekistan, for example, are being supplied to Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, providing many of the city's 5 million people with a continuous electricity supply for the first time in decades.

Similarly, over 140 megawatts of summer surplus electricity from Tajikistan is supplied to Afghanistan via the 220-kilovolt transmission line constructed through the Regional Power Transmission Interconnection Project completed in May 2011. This electricity benefits about 1.5 million people in the northern part of the country.

Transmission lines stretching 2,322 km have been completed as a direct output of CAREC-related projects. An estimated 755 km of high voltage overhead transmission lines will be installed or upgraded until 2015, with CAREC's results framework tracking this goal and reporting progress. Improvements in energy efficiency and regional connectivity are results expected from the Talimarjan power plant, 440 km southwest of Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, where Uzbekenergo, the state-run power utility, is building Central Asia's first 820-megawatt combined cycle gas turbine power plant. It is expected to be completed by 2015 with CAREC support.

View all CAREC Energy projects

Key Elements of the Energy Work Plan

The Energy Work Plan (EWP) for 2013-2015 is built on the foundation of the Energy Action Plan (EAP) Framework, which has addressed a number of issues in the areas of regional energy demand-supply balance and infrastructure, regional dispatch and regulatory development, and energy-water linkages.

The EWP focuses on six key elements:

  • Developing the Central Asia-South Asia Energy Corridor. Certain cross-border projects and programs are being implemented or are actively considered for energy transfer from Central Asia to South Asia, all transiting Afghanistan. These include the TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) gas pipeline project and the CASA-1000 power transmission project. Other options, aimed at integrating the thermal and hydropower resources of Central Asian countries for power supply to Afghanistan, and onward to Pakistan, are also being examined.
  • Resolving regional energy dispatch and trade issues. The economic study of electricity trade, undertaken under the Energy Action Plan, identifies numerous actions that could be undertaken at little cost to help re-establish some trade patterns. Further studies will be undertaken on potential legal, regulatory, and governance mechanisms for future power trade; unplanned power flows and international best practices; and metering automation and unification of international energy trade.
  • Managing energy-water linkages. The third pillar of the EAP focused on energy-water linkages to strengthen the analytical framework that integrates energy and water for the region. The EWP will implement recommendations of the road map, prepared under the EAP pillar, to strengthen analysis based on country and regional consultations, analytical reviews of existing models, and development of a demonstration model for the Aral Sea Basin. The road map emphasizes balance of regional and national ownership of analytical tools, open source data, and wide dissemination of information products; and identifies three levels of engagement: national, regional, and multilateral.
  • Mobilizing funds to build energy assets. As part of the EWP, the capacity of each CAREC country to finance power infrastructure development projects from its own resources will be assessed. Other sources of financing will be reviewed for both national and cross-border projects, and potential public-private partnership projects identified, along with measures to stimulate private sector interest in the CAREC region's power sector.
  • Implementation of energy priority projects. A list of priority projects to be implemented over the medium term will be finalized, updated, and revised periodically based on confirmation of national and regional priorities and taking into account the project prioritization plan outlined in the Regional Power Sector Master Plan. A set of measurable indicators has been put in place to periodically monitor the progress made by the countries toward achieving regional cooperation.
  • Capacity building and knowledge management. The EWP aims to bridge the capacity gap in the CAREC countries and provides for the implementation of capacity-building programs that include (i) interconnection options for the Central Asia-South Asia energy corridor; (ii) a regulatory framework for energy trade in the CAREC region; (iii) potential for balancing CAREC's energy portfolio by developing renewable energy resources; (iv) regional energy dispatch issues such as cross-border metering; (v) lessons for CAREC from regional power trade models and case studies, system planning and optimization software, institutional arrangements and their implications for energy trade, and a database of energy expertise and knowledge products in the CAREC region; and (vi) demand-side management measures, including energy efficiency and energy conservation.
The ESCC will guide and oversee implementation of the EWP 2013-2015 as well as the conclusions and recommendations of diagnostic work and studies to be carried out in support of the plan. The committee will monitor and report on the plan's progress on a regular basis, share outputs, and discuss key conclusions and initiatives.