By Abdul Kerimkhanov
The Asian Development Bank (ADB), one of the largest international donors in Kyrgyzstan, is also the main source of development assistance for the Kyrgyz Republic.
ADB has approved a financing package of $ 100 million to modernize outdated equipment and increase power generation at the Uch-Kurgan HPP, the oldest of the six HPPs of the Naryn River cascade in Kyrgyzstan, reported ADB press center on March 29.
ADB assistance, which includes a $ 60 million loan and a $ 40 million grant from the Asian Development Fund, will help strengthen the energy self-sufficiency of Kyrgyzstan and increase its potential for resuming energy exports to Central Asian countries.
ADB will also administer a $ 45 million loan from the Eurasian Development Bank for this project.
The ADB’s chief energy specialist Mr. Sohail Hasni said that the modernization of the Uch-Kurgan HPP supports the government’s strategy to rehabilitate existing power plants to increase the production of clean energy.
“Kyrgyzstan has the potential to produce about 150 tV/h of clean electricity per year, but at present, it produces only about 10 percent of this amount. We expect that after the completion of the work, the Uch-Kurgan HPP will produce 20 percent more electricity,” noted Hasni.
The Kyrgyz Republic is the center of clean energy in Central Asia and produces 90 percent of all hydropower in the region. In 1995, the Kyrgyz Republic exported more than 2,000 gW/h of electricity to Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, but since then exports have decreased by more than half.
It is expected that electricity exports in Kyrgyzstan will continue to grow since in the future the country will have more energy to export. Hydropower exports and related dollar export revenues will improve the financial situation of the energy sector and compensate for similar payments for electricity imports from Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan during the winter months.
The Uch-Kurgan HPP is located 271 km south-west of the country's capital, Bishkek. In 1962, the commercial operation of the Uch-Kurgan HPP began, which was used to provide the nominal load. Since then, there have been no significant improvements.
Replacing and upgrading outdated equipment will not only increase electricity generation at the Uch-Kurgan HPP but also preserve the integrity of the power system in the Naryn river cascade. The Naryn River cascade is the “locomotive” of the electric power industry of Kyrgyzstan - its six HPPs provide 92 percent of all electricity produced in the country.
The modernization project will restore full operation of all four power units of the Uch-Kurgan HPP with an increased total capacity of 216 MW from the original capacity of 180 MW.
It will also finance the strengthening of steel hydraulic structures and infrastructure of the hydroelectric dam, at the same time, it will be possible to use all eight depth gates of the bottom outlet for operation. It will also be carried out scooping sediment, which will restore the correct operation of hydromechanical equipment.
The Asian Development Bank was conceived in the early 1960s as a financial institution that would be Asian in character and foster economic growth and cooperation in one of the poorest regions in the world.
ADB assists its members, and partners, by providing loans, technical assistance, grants, and equity investments to promote social and economic development.
ADB is composed of 68 members, 49 of which are from the Asia and Pacific region.
In recent years, Kyrgyzstan has maintained a strong development agenda to reduce poverty through inclusive economic growth.
With the support of ADB, the government has sought to reform legal and regulatory frameworks, improve the country’s business environment, make affordable finance available to all, improve the reliability of electricity services, and allow the people to become more employable.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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