Tajikistan creates independent national electric grid

On Nov. 29, the South-North power line that links north and central Tajikistan and allows the country’s national grid to be independent went into operation on the eve of Uzbekistan’s withdrawal from the United Central Asian Energy System.

Nigora Hashim

2009-12-04

On Nov. 29, the South-North power line that links north and central Tajikistan and allows the country’s national grid to be independent went into operation on the eve of Uzbekistan’s withdrawal from the United Central Asian Energy System.

President of Tajikistan Emomali Rakhmon attended the ceremony inaugurating the power line and said Tajikistan now had its own united national grid and had taken another step towards energy independence.

The power line is 400km long, and stretches from Tursunzade to Khujand in the centre of Sughd Province. The Export-Import Bank of China provided US$267 million of the $281 million needed to build the power line, as a long-term loan, and Chinese firm TBEA built it in three years.

Tajik authorities predict the cost of the power line that will carry up to 8.6 billion kWh of electricity per year will be recouped within seven years.

Before it became operational, 85 percent of electricity in Tajikistan’s Sughd Province came from Uzbekistan, while the local Kairakkum hydroelectric power station supplied just 15 to 20 percent of the province’s electricity.

“Uzbekistan’s withdrawal from the United Central Asian Energy System offers further evidence that this project was useful and timely,” a press release by Tajikistan’s state electric company Barki Tochik asserted. It added that “the Sughd Province grid can now be fed from the Tajik national grid. With the help of this energy facility, new high-voltage power lines that will link Tajikistan’s national grid with those of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan will be built in future.” The capacity of the new power line is double the energy requirements of Sughd Province.

The increase in transmission capacity will not, however, solve Tajikistan’s main energy problem, that of an inadequate supply of electricity in winter. As of Dec. 2, the Sangtudina-1 hydroelectric power station, 75 percent of which is owned by Russia and operated by Russian managers, reduced its supply of electricity to Tajikistan’s national grid due to Barki Tojik’s inability to reduce its US$9.7 million debt. While the plant’s management threatened to cut the supply of electricity completely on Dec. 1, it has only halved the supply so far.

[CA-News.org, Khovar.tj, Avesta.tj, Asia-Plus.tj]

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