Tajikistan launches second unit of 670-MW Sangtuda 1

Tajikistan launched on July 1 the second unit of the four-unit, 670-MW Sangtuda 1 hydroelectric project on the Vakhsh River.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Tajik President Imomali Rakhmon called the unit commissioning “an important step in securing the country’s energy independence.”

The president said the Russian-built project is important not only to Tajikistan, where millions struggled to survive last winter without heat and electricity, but also to the Central Asian region, where supply of cheap and clean electricity is an important factor. The first unit began operation in January. (HNN 1/22/08)

“Building hydro plants is our national priority on which everyone’s welfare depends,” Rakhmon said.

The president urged the Russian officials and technicians at the ceremony to do everything possible to complete the power station by the end of the year, helping ease the power shortage in the coming winter.

The US$500 million plant, financed by Russian electricity company Unified Energy Systems, is due to reach full capacity of 2.7 million kWh later this year. Russian government-owned companies have an 83.55 percent stake in Sangtuda 1, while Tajikistan owns the remaining 16.45 percent.

Rakhmon also invited the Russian companies to participate in construction of Tajikistan’s 3,600-MW Rogun hydroelectric project. Desperate to ease the power shortage in the impoverished country, Rakhmon last month ordered senior energy officials to sell government cars to help finance Rogun’s completion. (HNN 6/19/08)

Tajikistan and Afghanistan currently are seeking bids for construction of part of a Central and South Asian grid system to export Tajikistan and Kyrgystan hydropower through Afghanistan to Pakistan. (HNN 2/5/08)

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