Work begins on Tajikistan’s 3,600-MW Rogun hydroelectric plant

Work has officially begun on what Tajik officials say will be the world’s tallest dam, following a ceremony that included president Emomali Rahmon over the weekend.

The 335-meters-tall dam — part of developer OJSC Rogun’s 3,600-MW Rogun hydroelectric plant — will impound Tajikistan’s Vakhsh River.

HydroWorld.com reported in June that Italian industrial group Salini Impregilo had signed a framework agreement worth US$3.9 billion to build the project. Siemens AG signed an agreement in July to provide gas-insulated high-voltage switchgear (GIS) for the project’s power plant.

Tajik Deputy Energy Minister Poulod Muhiddinov affirmed the government’s commitment to develop Rogun in June 2014. Utility Barki Tojik previously invited expressions of interest from consultants for procurement and construction of the project in 2012.

Construction began on Rogun in 1980, but stalled at the end of the Soviet era. It is among about 10 hydro projects, either operating or planned, in the Vakhsh River Cascade.

The project includes the embankment dam, hydraulic tunnels of 1,100 to 1,500 meters, an underground powerhouse with six units, balance of plant and auxiliary equipment. A consortium of Tractebel Engineering France (Coyne et Bellier) and ELC Electroconsult Italy is providing technical assistance to project developer OJSC Rogun HPP.

Rogun will double Tajikistan’s energy production, according to Salini, while also increasing water available for agricultural activity. Surplus energy generated by the hydropower project will be sold to Pakistan, Afghanistan and potentially other neighboring countries.

The constructor said it expects Rogun’s first units to go online in August 2018, with the sale of power from the unit to help finance the project’s completion.

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for HydroWorld.com.

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