The Government of Tajikistan is negotiating and looking for new partners in the supply of electricity in the autumn-winter period in order to avoid an energy crisis this year. The main energy trading partners of the republic are Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, but energy imports from these countries are not sufficient to meet the needs of the republic. This year Turkmenistan may also be among the energy partners. Negotiations on the import of Turkmen electricity in the amount of 1 billion kW / h are underway for seven months.
For more than ten years, the republic has been experiencing a shortage of electricity in the autumn-winter period and, in connection with this, every year, from October until the end of April, the electricity supply in the country is carried out at a limit. In the country, up to 99.9% of electricity is generated at hydropower plants, and the annual output is about 18 billion kW / h. The main part of this indicator is produced in the summer period, since the reservoirs of the hydroelectric stations are filled due to the melting of glaciers and it is then that it becomes possible to increase the production of these products. Moreover, all currently existing reservoirs are seasonal, i.e. their capacity is limited to keep water in reserve for further energy production.
According to estimates of experts of the energy company "Barki Tojik", the annual deficit is 3 billion kW / h. and this figure is growing every year by 5%, i.e. about 3.5 million kWh per month. Tajik energy officials say that if this situation continues, the launch of new energy facilities, which are now being implemented, will not solve the problem.
Today, the government of the republic encourages and recommends that people and organizations limit the use of electrical appliances and heaters as much as possible during the autumn-winter period in order to save electricity. Analysts argue that the calls of the state are a necessary measure, since this year there is little water in the country, which results in the limitation of the activity of hydroelectric stations in the generation of electricity.
According to independent economist Gureza Rakhimov, one of the reasons for the recommendation of the government of the republic is that in the middle of the year Kyrgyzstan officially informed Tajik power engineers that this year they would not be able to sell electricity to Tajikistan due to low water. And this means that this time the import of electricity from abroad will decrease by 300 million kW / h, the total annual volume of which is 900 million kW / h.
In order to save electricity, experts offer various options, in particular the increase in electricity prices. Representatives of the state-owned energy company Barki Tochik argue that it is high tariffs that will allow to restrain large amounts of electricity consumption by the population. In addition, the financial condition of Barki Tochik Open Joint-Stock Holding Company (OAHK) will improve and make the energy industry attractive for potential investors.
Currently, the price of electricity for the population in the country is up to 250 kW / h. 2.4 dirams, and over the established limit 3.8 diram (this is about a little more than one cent of the United States). According to the plans of Barki Tochik OAHK, by 2010 the price of electricity in the country will reach 3.5 cents per kilowatt.
To achieve energy independence, the government of the republic has developed various programs for the construction of new energy facilities. These programs include the construction of small, medium and large hydropower stations on the rivers of the country, thermal power stations based on coal deposits, the transfer of activities of existing CHP plants on coal, and the use of solar energy.
According to the plans of the government of the republic, by 2020, 71 small hydropower plants should be built in the country. More than ten of them are already being implemented with the financial support of the Islamic Development Bank and at the expense of the energy company Barki Tochik. In addition, the Sangtuda-1 and Sangtuda-2 hydropower stations are actively being built, with Russian and Iranian investments. The design capacity of these hydropower plants is 2.7 billion kW / h (Sangtuda-1) and 930 million kWh (Sangtuda-2) per year. The deadline for the implementation of both projects is the end of 2009. In December of this year, it is planned to launch the first unit of the Sangtuda-1 HPP.
Tajik experts say that although the launch of these stations will partially solve the country's energy dependence, they will not be able to fully meet the demand of the republic, given its annual growth. Analysts believe that the republic needs to complete the construction of the Rogun hydropower plant, which is the largest in the Central Asian region in terms of power and height of the dam. The design capacity of this station will be 3.6 thousand MW, and the height of its dam - 335 meters.
The construction of the Rogun hydropower plant was begun in 1976 and the launch of its first stage was scheduled for 1993. However, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the civil war in the republic and the permanent shortage of funds were the reasons for stopping the construction work on this object.
In 2004, the Russian company RusAl announced its desire to complete the construction of the first stage of hydropower plants, and promised to invest $ 650 million for these purposes. In October of the same year, an agreement was signed between the Government of Tajikistan and RusAl on the continuation of construction work on this facility. However, after 2.5 years, the Government of Tajikistan canceled this agreement due to the fact that the Russian company did not fulfill a single point of the signed agreement during this period.
Experts from the country's Ministry of Energy and Industry argue that one of the reasons for the cancellation of the document was the disagreement between the parties on the construction of the height and type of hydroelectric dam. Rusal proposed a concrete dam with a height of 280 meters, and the government of Tajikistan insisted on the implementation of the original project, which was developed in the Soviet era.
Director of the Tajik branch of the Scientific and Information Center of the Interstate Water Commission Uktam Murtazaev believes that the completion of the construction of the Rogun hydropower plant will allow it to consistently generate a sufficient amount of electricity at any time of the year due to the large capacity of its reservoir. In addition, during the period of low water, problems with irrigation of agricultural land will also be solved.
The neighboring Uzbekistan painfully responds to Tajikistan’s plans to implement its energy projects and build hydropower stations on the Pyanj, Syrdarya, Vakhsh and Zerafshan rivers. Judging by the Internet materials, their fears are caused by the fact that if these projects are implemented, the water level on these rivers will decrease and the water will become an instrument of pressure on neighboring countries.
In turn, the official Dushanbe and specialists of the energy departments of the country have repeatedly stated that Tajikistan has never used its water and energy resources as an instrument of pressure on neighboring countries to solve some issues. The implementation of energy projects on the Syr Darya, Zerafshan, Vakhsh and Pyanj rivers are priorities for Tajikistan, and the development of the future national economy is directly dependent on their results, taking into account the need for electricity, both domestically and in the region. Moreover, it is necessary to take into account the constant rise in electricity prices, and it is produced very cheaply in Tajikistan.