The first phase of a project to rehabilitate the largest hydropower project in Tajikistan was officially launched yesterday.
The Nurek plant, which has an installed capacity of over 3000MW, generates about 70% of total annual energy demand in Tajikistan. Operational at only 77%, the facility is currently undergoing its first major rehabilitation since it’s commissioning in 1972. Once completed, the rehabilitation will allow Nurek to increase winter generation by 33 million kWh – which is central to the Government’s efforts to ensure that energy demand can be met even during the coldest months. During the summer months, Tajikistan could expand electricity exports from its hydro resources, including through the CASA-1000 transmission line, and generate much-needed additional revenues for the power sector.
The first phase of the project has been co-financed by the World Bank, and was officially launched in a ceremony yesterday by the President of the Republic of Tajikistan, Emomali Rahmon, and the World Bank’s Director of Strategy and Operations for Europe and Central Asia, Mariam Sherman. Key representatives from the Government of Tajikistan, the World Bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Eurasian Development Bank, and other international development institutions also attended.
“The restoration of the generation capacity of the Nurek HPP is essential for ensuring energy security for the people of Tajikistan,” said the World Bank’s Mariam Sherman. “Improved energy generation, combined with dam safety improvement measures, will help Tajikistan respond to climate change challenges, while ensuring expanded energy trade to generate much-needed revenue to support socio-economic development for the people of Tajikistan.”
The first phase of the Plant’s rehabilitation costs around $325 million. In addition to the World Bank’s financing of $226 million, funding is being provided by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank ($60 million) and the Eurasian Development Bank ($40 million).
During the first phase, three generating units will be rehabilitated, dam safety will be enhanced, with a special focus on protection against seismic hazards and floods, and six auto-transformers used to regulate voltage will be replaced. In addition, the institutional capacity of the Open Joint Stock Holding Company Barqi Tojik will be strengthened and its operational and financial performance will be enhanced. The rehabilitation of the power plant will be carried out by Andritz Hydro, which the Government of Tajikistan has contracted through an open, international tender.
Development partners, led by the World Bank, are also starting the preparation of the second phase of the project, estimated at $180 million, to commence in 2020.