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ADB allocates $122 million to upgrade Tajikistan's power grid

Oct 18, 2010 - Asia Pulse Data Source

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Tajik government have signed a grant agreement worth $122 million to expand and upgrade the electricity transmission system in Tajikistan, which will help increase the level of energy trading with neighboring countries and cover the country's electricity shortages in winter.

The document was signed by Safarali Nadjmuddinov, the Tajik Finance Minister; Joji Tokeshi, ADB Acting Permanent Representative in Tajikistan; and Abdullo Yerov, Chairman of the Barki Tochik Tajikistan's energy holding.

This regional project on electricity transmission provides for the construction of two new 220-kilovolt transmission lines with a total length of 140 kilometers, and the rehabilitation of substations. The project will also support reforms to restructure the Barki Tochik.

Almost all electricity in Tajikistan is generated by hydropower plants, which leads to a large electricity surplus in summer and to a great shortage in winter. Obsolete transmission networks in the country need restoration. Regional networks are limited, which affects the electricity trade with neighboring Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan. Improvement of Tajikistan's network, including the Regar substation, which is a key link in the Central Asian unified power system, will help improve the system's overall reliability and reduce the number of breakdowns.

According to ADB's Tokeshi, the project will increase energy security and efficiency, improve the operating performance of the Barki Tochik, and will help improve the regional energy trade, which is the main goal within the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Program.

To improve the monitoring and decision-making process, the project will provide for the installation of a modern real-time system for monitoring and data collection, which will replace the existing outdated and partly destroyed telecommunication system and the central monitoring system of the energy network. The scheduled reforms will help reduce financial losses and advance the Barki Tochik and the country?s entire energy sector to a more sustainable commercial basis, which is a major step in the state plan for opening this sector to independent producers and private investors.

The ADB's grant makes 87% of the total project cost, which amounts to $141 million. The Tajik government and Barki Tochik will invest $19 million. Barki Tochik will be the executing agency for the construction of transmission lines and substations, and the Energy and Industry Ministry will head the reform process. The project will be completed by February 2015.

Tajik analysts believe that this project will enable Tajikistan to significantly reduce power deficit in winter by reducing electricity losses and export sufficient amounts of excess energy in summer. According to the Energy and Industry Ministry, this year the electricity surplus made over four billion kilowatt-hours. However, due to the absence of access to Central Asian markets and the absence of energy transmission lines, a limited amount of power was exported only to Afghanistan. The situation will change a lot after the commissioning of high voltage power lines in Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan.

According to the Tajik Statistics Agency, the share of electricity in the country's foreign trade turnover totaled 0.6%. Energy exports since the beginning of 2010 made 130.6 million kilowatt-hours worth over $2.5 million, while imports, which is carried out in winter, totaled 278.6 million kilowatt-hours worth over $10.6 million.

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