Qamar, Pakistan’s Minister for Water and Power, during the CASA-1000 signing at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Dubai. Image Credit: AHMED RAMZAN/Gulf News

Dubai: Talks with India and Iran on power exports are under way and likely to be settled soon, Pakistan's Minister for Water and Power Syed Naveed Qamar, told Gulf News.

Iran currently provides 72 megawatts to Pakistan which is likely to be increased to 1,100MW.

"It is our desire that the modalities, tariff and terms and conditions may be finalised at the earliest so that the project can be started soon."

He said the transmission line between Pakistan and India is around 100 kilometres compared with the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan transmission lines which are around 1,000km.

"As we look into the future, the power demand is going to be robust coupled with the growth in the economy. The electricity trade with India is beneficial for both countries and it will open new avenues of economic ties," Qamar said.

Pakistan may import up to 500MW which may be supplied with the construction of small transmission lines from both sides.

Wind projects

He said that the major share of power production is through oil which is expensive, and therefore the government is considering running the power plants on coal. Special attention would be given to the power sector and in this regard more funds would be allocated for the power sector during the coming development budget.

The government has plans to produce 1,000MW of cheaper power from wind projects next year, Qamar said.

"Russia, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan have also offered Pakistan to export their surplus power to Pakistan," A.U. Rahman, acting executive director of Central Asia, South Asia (CASA-1000) project, told Gulf News.

He said Russia is also keen to join the project.

Pakistan has an installed capacity of around 20,000MW, but the production capacity is around 16,000MW. Right now "the shortage of power is around 4,500MW," Rahman said.

He said the current load shedding will be "reduced gradually" with the new projects expected to come online soon.

In certain parts of the country current load shedding continues for more than 12 hours.