A $100 million financing package has been agreed between the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic to modernize aging equipment and improve power generation capacity at the Uch-Kurgan hydropower plant (HPP), the oldest of the six HPPs installed along the Naryn river cascade in the Kyrgyz Republic.  The work will see Uch-Kurgan’s generation capacity increase from 180MW to 216 MW.

The agreement was signed by Minister of Finance and ADB Governor Ms. Baktygul Jeenbaeva and ADB Country Director for the Kyrgyz Republic Ms. Candice McDeigan on 1 November.

“The modernization of the Uch-Kurgan hydropower plant supports the government’s strategy to rehabilitate existing power plants to increase clean energy production,” said McDeigan. “We expect the Uch-Kurgan hydropowee plant to produce 20% more power when the work is completed.”

ADB’s assistance, comprised of a $60 million loan and a $40 million grant, will help strengthen the Kyrgyz Republic’s energy self-sufficiency and increase its potential for renewed energy exports to neighboring countries in Central Asia. ADB will also administer a $45 million loan from the Eurasian Development Bank for the project.

Uch-Kurgan, located 271km southwest of the country’s capital Bishkek, began operating in 1962 and was used as a baseload plant. Since then, no major improvement works have been undertaken. Replacing and modernizing aging equipment will not only increase power generation at Uch-Kurgan, but also maintain the integrity of the power system in the Naryn River cascade. The Naryn River cascade is the powerhouse of the Kyrgyz Republic with its six hydropower plants producing 92% of the country’s hydropower supply.

The modernization project will restore full operation of all four generating units of Uch-Kurgan. It will also finance the reinforcement of the plant’s hydraulic steel structure and dam infrastructure, while making all eight bottom outlet gates operational. The removal of silt and sedimentation will also be carried out to help restore the proper operation of the plant’s hydromechanical equipment.

The project is expected to help strengthen the capacity of Electric Power Plants (EPP) to implement externally funded projects; establish a project implementation and engineering accreditation program for EPP; train EPP personnel on project implementation, including on safeguards monitoring, procurement, and financial management; improve capacity for planning and implementing sector reform; and recruit 10 women-engineers and create a culture of best practice and modern business processes.