Uzbekistan withdraws from United Energy System

On Dec. 1, Uzbekistan announced that it had withdrawn completely from the United Central Asian Energy System (UCAES) that once encompassed almost all generation facilities in the former Soviet republics of Central Asia.

Nigora Yadgarova

2009-12-04

On Dec. 1, Uzbekistan announced that it had withdrawn completely from the United Central Asian Energy System (UCAES) that once encompassed almost all generation facilities in the former Soviet republics of Central Asia. Until recently, four former Soviet republics in Central Asia were part of the UCAES. Turkmenistan withdrew in 2003.

Uzbek authorities said the withdrawal was necessary “to guarantee the country’s energy security,” and brought the Guzar-Surkhan power line into operation on Dec. 1 to fill the gap in Uzbekistan’s national grid, which means the country no longer requires power from Tajikistan to supply electricity to Surxondaryo Province.

The Uzbek Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Tashkent provided official notice in September and October to all parties concerned that it would pull out of the United Energy System on Dec. 1. “In withdrawing from the UCAES, Uzbekistan has not breached any international regulations or international commitments assumed by it,” the Ministry contended.

Observers relate that when Uzbekistan announced its intention to withdraw from the UCAES, some officials claimed the country would not really take the step and instead wanted to charge a fee for the transfer of electricity via its national grid.

Uzbek Ambassador to Tajikistan Shokasym Shoislamo revealed that Kazakhstan also plans to pull out of the UCAES as soon as it fills gaps in its own power grid.

At a briefing in Dushanbe on Nov. 23, Shoislamo said, “I believe the other republics in the region will follow suit, once they have built their own hydroelectric power stations and increased their energy generation capacities.” He added that since the country is aware of the energy problems being experienced by Tajikistan, Uzbekistan will continue to supply electricity to its neighbour’s northern regions.

Despite that claim, Uzbekistan’s withdrawal from the UCAES will leave Tajikistan isolated, unable to import electricity from other Central Asian nations via UCAES lines, and unable to export electricity during the summer months, when Tajik hydroelectric power stations are able to operate at full capacity as the country’s rivers are filled by melting glaciers.

[NewSkaz.ru, CA-News.org, UzDaily.uz, AkiPress.org, Asia-Plus.tj]

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