Work has officially started on the rehabilitation of the Qairokkum hydropower plant in Tajikistan, a project that will see the plant’s capacity increase from 126MW to 174MW.
The work – which started with the official ceremony on 23 August - is the culmination of a US$ 196million investment programme that began in 2014, with financing provided by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the European Investment Bank (EIB), the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the Climate Investment Funds’ Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience, Austria and the UK. The government of Austria is also funding technical cooperation support.
The financing, comprising a US$ 88 million EBRD loan, a US$ 37 million EIB loan, a US$ 50 million GCF loan and grant and a US$ 21 million Climate Investment Funds loan and grant to the state-owned power utility Barki Tojik, will fund the rehabilitation and modernisation of the plant that provides electricity to 500,000 people. Measures will include concrete dam works and the installation of hydraulic steel components, turbines and electromechanical equipment for the six hydropower units.
The upgrade will introduce innovative climate resilience measures, enabling the plant to cope with the expected impact of climate change on the country’s hydrological systems. It will also build the capacity of the Tajik hydropower operator to anticipate, assess and manage climate-related risks by introducing best international practices from countries such as Canada.
Tajikistan is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change. Its glacial hydrology and, by extension, its hydropower sector, are highly sensitive to the impacts of climate change and the project offers a model of how carefully designed investments can make hydropower more resilient. This model can be replicated across the country and the region.