EghtesadOnline: Amassive explosion at Iran’s Dogharoun border terminal with Afghanistan in Khorasan Razavi Province has cut off electricity export to the neighboring state since Saturday, a spokesman for the state-run Power Generation, Distribution and Transmission Company (Tavanir) said.
"Power export infrastructure including some transmission pylons were damaged in the blast," Mostafa Rajabi Mashhadi was quoted as saying by Bargh News.
A fierce fire started after a fuel tanker exploded in a parking lot on the Afghan side of the border [Islam Qala crossing in Afghanistan’s Herat Province].
According to Herat health officials, at least 15 people were killed and 30 wounded in the fire, and many of the more than 500 trucks lined up at the Islam Qala crossing carrying natural gas and fuel were ablaze.
The inferno inflicted an estimated $50 million is losses, to the truckers and $1 million to the electricity infrastructure, newswires reported. Mashhadi said Tavanir engineers will fix the problem and the company has offered help to the Afghans.
The explosion destroyed at least 100 fuel tankers, he said and noted that power export will resume after the transmission lines are repaired.
The contract to sell power (200,000 kilowatts/day) to the neighbor was renewed in 2019 for two years but this accounts for a meager share of the country’s growing demand, he added.
In the past three years Iran and Afghan officials have signed MoUs for expanding power cooperation. One project to build a 220 kilovolt power transmission line in Nimruz Province in southwest Afghanistan commenced last year.
Power wastage is one of the main challenges in the war-ravaged country. Electricity wastage is said to be 40%.
“Iran can help Afghanistan improve power efficiency and reduce wastage to below 30%,” he said, adding that Iran has succeeded in cutting power waste in its grids from 18% to 10%.
Afghanistan can help link Iran to Central Asia so that they can exchange electricity whenever there is extra production on one side and demand on the other, he said.
In addition to Afghanistan, Iran exports electricity to Iraq and Pakistan and has a power swap contract with Armenia and Azerbaijan.
According to Homayoun Haeri, a deputy energy minister, linking the two country’s electricity networks will be in the interest of both nations.
After four decades of wars, violence, internal strife and terror attacks Afghanistan’s power sector is being revived gradually. However, a large part of the population does not have access to the grid. Even those connected to the network grapple with frequent blackouts sometimes up to 15 hours a day.
According to Afghanistan’s national electricity utility, its installed generation capacity is 650 megawatts, mainly hydropower, fossil fuel and solar. However, domestic production is insufficient to meet the needs of the 35 million population and it imports power from Iran, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.
Due to the large influx of Afghan refugees returning home from Pakistan and Iran, Afghanistan may require as much as 7,000 MW in the coming years.