ADB approves $100m funding for hydropower plant upgrade in Kyrgyzstan

WCN Editorial Team 29 Mar 2019 ASIA ENERGY & UTILITIES

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved funding of $100m to modernise ageing equipment and improve power generation capacity at the Uch-Kurgan hydropower plant (HPP) along the Naryn River cascade in the Kyrgyz Republic.

The ADB assistance comprises a $60m loan and a $40m grant from the Asian Development Fund.

The funding is expected to strengthen the Kyrgyz Republic’s energy self-sufficiency and increase its potential for renewed energy exports to neighbouring countries in Central Asia.

ADB will also administer a $45m loan from the Eurasian Development Bank for the project.

The Uch-Kurgan hydropower plant is the oldest of the six HPPs installed along the Naryn River cascade.

ADB principal energy specialist Sohail Hasnie said: “The modernization of the Uch-Kurgan hydropower plant supports the government’s strategy to rehabilitate existing power plants to increase clean energy production.

“The Kyrgyz Republic has the potential to generate about 150 terrawatt-hour of clean electricity per year, but it’s producing only about 10% of that amount at the moment. We expect the Uch-Kurgan to produce 20% more power when the work is completed.”

Located 271km southwest of the country’s capital Bishkek, Uch-Kurgan HPP began operating in 1962 and was used as a baseload plant.

Since then, no major improvement works have been taken up. Replacing and modernising ageing equipment will increase power generation at Uch-Kurgan and also maintain the integrity of the power system in the Naryn River cascade.

The Naryn River cascade is the powerhouse of the Kyrgyz Republic with the six HPPs producing 92% of the country’s hydropower supply.

The modernisation project will restore full operation of all four generating units of Uch-Kurgan HPP with increased total capacity of 216MW, from the original capacity of 180MW.

The funding will also be used for the reinforcement of the HPP’s hydraulic steel structure and dam infrastructure, while making all eight bottom outlet gates operational.

Silt and sedimentation will also be removed to help restore proper operation of the HPP’s hydromechanical equipment.

The ADB assistance will also support capacity building of Electric Power Plants (EPP), the project’s executing agency, especially in its commitment to operational sustainability and diversity by establishing the EPP’s engineer’s accreditation programme and through the recruitment of 10 women engineers in the next two years.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. In 2018, it made commitments of new loans and grants amounting to $21.6 billion. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.

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Image: The Naryn River near the town of Naryn in Kyrgyzstan. Photo: Courtesy of Mario Biondi, writer / Wikimedia Commons.

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