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Tajik dam may alter energy map -- but not yet

The Tajik authorities’ portrayal of the Roghun hydro-plant as a game-changer is partly true but they have to finish it

A giant dam is intended to maximise Tajik mountain water assets
Source: Asia-Plus, Fergana.ru, Barq-i Tojik, Sputnik Tajikistan

Outlook

The November 16 launch of the Roghun hydroelectric scheme was presented as a momentous event, the culmination of a national project to solve all Tajikistan’s energy problems and move from frequent blackouts to plentiful electricity supplies and lucrative exports. That is still in the future: only one of six turbines is installed and the dam has reached just one-quarter of its intended height. One obstacle seems to have receded: for two decades Uzbekistan saw it the dam as an existential threat, blocking vital irrigation along the river Amu Darya. A new Uzbek leadership has decided to cooperate on the plant in the hope of managing water flows jointly.

Impacts

  • An Asian Development Bank grant is intended to re-connect the shared Central Asian power grid.
  • Future Tajik electricity exports require completion of power lines under the Central Asia-South Asia (CASA-1000) project.
  • Uzbekistan has also switched from hostile opposition to cooperation on the Kambarata hydroelectric dam in Kyrgyzstan.
  • Feasibility studies cited by Tajikistan suggest that seismic risks to the dam and downstream water fluctuations are managable


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