The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is providing a grant of USD 54.77 million for the rehabilitation work of the Nurek hydroelectric power plant in Tajikistan which produces over 70 per cent of the country’s electricity. It also plays a key role in regulating the frequency of power transmitted through the interlinked electricity networks of four other Central Asian countries – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. The funds will be used to replace outdated equipment in the 500 kV switchyard, and to move the switchgear to a more stable area of the plant. The Tajikistan government and Barki Tojik, a national power company of Tajikistan will provide counterpart fund of USD 12.1 million for the project. The grant follows a loan given by Germany’s Credit Institute for Reconstruction to finance the replacement of equipment in the 220kV switchyard. The plant’s two switchyards were built more than 30 years ago and can no longer deliver a stable supply of power. In addition, some areas in the switchyards have been submerging due to unstable ground conditions, presenting a further threat.
Commenting on the development, Jim Liston, principal energy specialist of ADB’s Central and West Asia Department said, “The project will ensure a sustainable and reliable electricity supply to support economic development. It will also mitigate the risk of natural disasters disabling the switchyard and will stabilize the flow of electricity coming from this strategically important power plant.”
ADB also supports the government’s efforts to better utilize the country’s hydropower. At present, Tajikistan’s vast hydro resources have barely been tapped and there is significant potential to export electricity generated from hydro plants to neighboring countries that suffer from power shortages.