Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan 500-kV Line (TAP-500)

Though Turkmenistan has been exporting power to Afghanistan through two interconnections since 2002, through the proposed Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan 500-kV Line (TAP-500) project it seeks to export year round power to both Afghanistan and Pakistan. By 2020, Turkmenistan expects to generate for available export 3,500 MW of excess power. In connection with TAP-500, Afghanistan plans to synchronize its power grid with Turkmenistan, and Turkmenistan has already commissioned (for completion by 2018) a 220-kV transmission line between Yolotan, Turkmenistan and Serhetabat on the border with Afghanistan. Afghanistan proposes the building of a larger 500-kV line through Afghanistan between Serhetabat and Spin Boldak on the border with Pakistan. At the same time Pakistan, which faces a significant energy crisis and deficit with significant load shedding on a daily basis, is open to the idea of interconnections with the proposed 500-kV line through its substation and transmission lines beginning in Chaman, just across the border from Spin Boldak, Afghanistan.

Current Status

On 13 December 2015, the President of Turkmenistan, H.E. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, the President of Afghanistan, H.E. Ashraf Ghani, and the Prime Minister of Pakistan, H.E. Nawaz Sharif signed a Memorandum of Understanding between their three countries, pledging to “constitute and task their technical negotiating teams to start the trilateral negotiations as soon as possible.” In connection with the Asian Development Bank’s CAREC program and its convening, from 11-13 April 2016 in Islamabad, Pakistan, of the 21st Energy Sector Coordination Meeting, the tripartite discussions commenced between the three countries, focusing on technical, project preparatory, financing, and implementation timeline aspects of the proposed project. In May, the Tripartite Technical Groups were formally established; the ranking of the project’s Interconnection Options commenced in June; and in July 2016, the ADB approved regional technical assistance in its capacity as secretariat for the project. TAP-500 has the potential to serve as an important part of the Afghan Government’s Energy and Infrastructure and Connectivity Development National Priority Programs, and it can also complement the Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan-Tajikistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan (TUTAP) regional electricity project and the Central Asia-South Asia Regional Energy Market (CASA-1000).

Recommended Actions by RECCA-VII and Beyond:

  • Confirm the TAP-500 Project Roadmap (including Interconnection Options and signing of project documentation) at the CAREC Ministerial Meeting planned for 26 October 2016 in Islamabad, Pakistan.
  • Support the preparation of relevant technical feasibility studies (2017-2018), approve financing from public and private sources (2018), and commence with project execution (2019), taking into account important social, environmental, and security factors.
Budget & Funding Status Feasibility work still required but the ADB is prepared to draw upon its USD $1.2 billion Energy Supply Improvement Investment Program for Afghanistan
Institutional Partners Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Asian Development Bank