By Kamila Aliyeva
Tajikistan will not attract loan from the World Bank (WB) for the construction of the Rogun hydro power plant (HPP).
WB Vice President for Europe and Central Asia Cyrill Muller said in an interview on the sidelines of a water management conference in Dushanbe that the bank would instead focus on the project of upgrading another major Tajik hydro plant, Reuters reported on June 21.
“The reason for us not financing Rogun is that the government had a number of choices on how to proceed with Rogun and they... wanted to accelerate the process and it was felt that the World Bank would be more helpful supporting other investments in the energy sector,” he said.
In cooperation with the government we decided to finance the refurbishing of the Nurek power plant and that will be our major investment in the energy sector at this stage, Muller added.
The Tajik authorities decided to issue securities worth $1 billion for the completion of the Rogun HPP in 2017. At the first stage, bonds worth $500 million were put up for sale on the world markets.
According to the National Bank of Tajikistan, Tajik government bonds by type of investors were sold to fund managers (85 percent), hedge funds (9 percent), banks and other financial institutions (6 percent). Geographically, the bonds were acquired by investors from the U.S. (38 percent), Great Britain (24 percent), EU countries (percent) and Asia (3 percent).
Recently, some media outlets spread information about the sale of a second package of government bonds worth $500 million for the Rogun project. However, there is no official confirmation of this information yet.
The government of Tajikistan, which has suffered from electricity shortages for years, makes all possible efforts to complete the construction of dam that will solve the country’s energy problem.
By implementing the project, Tajikistan will be able to generate about 13 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity annually. This will not only help the country to meet its domestic needs but also turn Tajikistan into a major exporter of electricity.
According to the project, six units are planned to be installed at the station, each with a capacity of 600 MW. The station will become the highest rock-earth dam in the world. This HPP will generate 17 billion kWh of electricity annually.
The dam should form a large Rogun reservoir with a total volume of 13.3 cubic meters. The project is criticized because of the location in the zone of high seismicity, landslide and mudflow processes, and the presence of a tectonic fault filled with rock salt under the base of the dam.
The Rogun HPP will dam the Vakhsh river, which is a major tributary to the Amu Darya river, one of the region's two major water courses. The neighboring countries cautioned water could be diverted from their cotton and wheat fields. Uzbekistan claimed that water flows would be seriously decreased in case the dam is built. However, the World Bank assessment gave the go-ahead to the major project.
The Italian company Salini Impregilo is engaged in the construction of the Rogun power plant. In October 2016, Tajikistan launched work on the construction of a rock embankment dam, 335 meters high and $1.95 billion worth. The cost of the entire hydro power station is $3.9 billion.
At the end of January, the head of the company, Pietro Salini, after a meeting with Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, told reporters that the first turbine of the Rogun hydro power plant will be launched on November 16, 2018.
Kamila Aliyeva is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Kami_Aliyeva
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