This year, the limited supply of electricity to the homes of residents of Tajikistan coincided with the beginning of the holy month of Ramazan. According to the country's Ministry of Energy, now the light in the homes of citizens across the country, except for the city of Dushanbe, will be only 10 hours a day. Residents say that if really electricity will be supplied 10 hours a day, this is not bad, since in previous years this time was on average 5-6 hours, but it happened that in many neighborhoods and micro-districts of Tajik cities and towns the light did not lodged and for weeks. Local authorities referred to the accident on the lines. If we take into account the fact that the supply of natural gas to residential buildings in Tajikistan is also limited to 5 hours, and centralized heating has gone down in history with the collapse of the former USSR, the winter landscape in the life of Tajiks turns out to be rather cold and gloomy.
And the Tajiks themselves, mostly already accustomed to such an order of life, buy candles, stoves, kerosene lamps, preparing for the onset of winter, and wait for 2008, when Sangtuda HPP-1 should be commissioned, and later Rogun HPP - the most major hydroelectric station in Central Asia. The authorities claim that with the start-up of units at these two hydropower plants, the shortage of electricity in Tajikistan will become a thing of the past. In the meantime, in winter, Tajikistan, which occupies one of the leading positions in the world in hydropower reserves (according to the most modest estimates, is 527 billion kWh / h, and currently only 16.3 - 17 billion kWh is used quantity), is forced to cover its deficit in the amount of about 3 billion KW / h due to supplies from abroad, in particular from Uzbekistan. And this country has its own problems with this, besides, the energy system of Uzbekistan does not allow exporting electricity to Tajikistan from third countries. So Tajiks live in the autumn-winter period in the permafrost, and in the dark.
Santudinskaya HPP-1, which the Russian company RAO UES has undertaken to complete, is located in the south of the country and after commissioning it can produce 670 MW of electricity per year, which in principle practically covers its deficit in Tajikistan. But the current annual growth of almost 10% of GDP in Tajikistan suggests that by that time the demand for electricity in the Tajik economy will increase significantly, i.e. she will be missed again. It is hoped that the Iranians, who actually decided to build the Sangtuda HPP-2 from scratch - the very last in the chain of the Vakhsh cascade - will also improve the situation. However, the main hopes are related to the resumed construction of the Rogun hydropower plant in the east of the country - the highest of the Vakhsh cascade mentioned above. Russian Aluminum is interested in the completion of this construction.
The construction of this hydropower plant began in 1983, but later, due to protests by part of the Tajik intelligentsia, it actually stopped. According to the project, the height of its dam was to reach 335 meters, and 6 units were supposed to produce 3,600 MW. After gaining independence in Tajikistan in 1991, construction funding was suspended, and the hydroelectric reservoir dam, which by then had reached a height of 40 meters, was washed away by mudflow in 1993. According to the residents of the town, the builders of Rogun, over the past 15 years, all the infrastructure and construction equipment was actually stolen and Tajikistan alone is not able to resume its construction.
Last October, during the visit of the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin to Tajikistan, an agreement was signed between RusAl companies and the Tajik government in the field of aluminum production and energy. According to it, RusAl committed to complete the construction of the Rogun hydropower plant, build two new electrolysis plants at the existing Tajik Aluminum Plant (TadAZ), and build a new aluminum plant in the Khatlon region of Tajikistan with a total capacity of 300,000 tons of primary aluminum per year.
On September 26 this year, a solemn ceremony was held in Rogun to resume the construction of the Rogun hydropower plant, which was attended by President of Tajikistan Emomali Rakhmonov, Minister of Industry and Energy of Russia Viktor Khristenko and head of the RusAl company Oleg Deripaska.
At a press conference on this occasion, the leaders of RusAl reported that at present the German campaign Leimer International is completing work on preparing a bank feasibility study, and only after that can we talk about specific investments in this project. But Oleg Deripaska himself said that this amount exceeds $ 1 billion. Besides, RusAl intends to build only the first stage of the Rogun hydropower plant, i.e. to bring the height of the dam to 225 meters and put two units that will produce 4 billion KW / h. The question of the construction of the second and third phases of the station is still open and probably will not soon be cleared up, since, according to information from informed sources, the leadership of RusAl has not yet decided on future plans. Perhaps that is why Rakhmonov, during an inspection of the construction site of the Rogun Hydroelectric Power Plant, said to the guests from Russia that the interest of foreign investors, especially Chinese, to the energy projects of Tajikistan is increasing every day.
RusAl intends to complete the first stage of the Rogun hydropower plant by the end of 2009. Probably, by that time, RusAl will build its aluminum plant and two new workshops at the Tajik Aluminum Plant. According to economists, the electricity produced at the Rogun hydropower plant will just cover the needs of new aluminum facilities and will remain to some extent to cover the internal electricity shortage in Tajikistan. But what about the dream of the country's leadership about turning Tajikistan into the largest exporter of cheap electricity in the region? Apparently, this dream will have to wait. And with it, and not to hope for the expected energy dollars from its sales to Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, China and the countries of the Central Asian region.
In addition, the commissioning of all the capacities of the Rogun hydropower plant would allow Tajikistan to regulate the flow of the Amu Darya to a greater degree, and at the same time become a more significant player on the political scene of the region. And, apparently, therefore, Rakhmonov is increasingly inviting investors to build the Dashtijum hydropower station on the border of Tajikistan and Afghanistan. The powerful reservoir of this station is able to supply water for irrigation of several hundred thousand cultivated lands in Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, and at the same time produce more than 15.6 billion kWh / h of electricity.
Tajikistan has several energy projects in reserve, among which the most interesting is the construction of a hydropower station on the Zerafshan River in the north of the country. It should be noted that at present Tajikistan, in the territory of which this river is formed, in fact does not use its water and it is completely consumed in the territory of neighboring Uzbekistan.
Apparently, taking into account these factors, some experts would like to see energy projects of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan among future investors. This, ultimately, will help in the future to avoid friction between the two countries in the regulation of water flows of transboundary rivers.