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News: January 2011

FIRST GENERATING UNIT LAUNCHED AT KAMBARATA-2

Source: The Times of Central Asia, M. Levina, 4.01.2011

On November 27 the first power unit was launched at Kambarata-2 hydroelectric power plant (HPP) in Kyrgyzstan and its first electricity was directed into the country's main network.

According to the Ministry of Energy, on August 30 a test run of the unit was made. Today electricity is supplied via three 110 KV transmission lines. One grid provides the Toktogul district center with electricity, and two lines transmit power to the city of Kara-Kul. The electricity generated from the main generator is also directed to the country's general network.

According to the Ministry of Energy, nine billion soms (US $192 million) was spent for the construction of the first hydraulic unit.

It is worth recalling that the Ministry of Energy postponed the launch of the first unit several times. On August 30, 2010 a solemn start was made with the participation of President Roza Otunbayeva, after which the hydraulic unit was disconnected. After that, the launch was planned for October 25, November 10 and November 26. The launch of the unit was postponed due to delayed delivery of shielded cable from Saransk, Russia.

Losses

Electricity losses in distribution networks in Kyrgyzstan amounted to 25.8 percent in October 2010. A year ago the total electricity losses amounted to 26.5 percent.

In 2010 distribution companies collected payments for sold electricity in the amount of 3.8 billion soms ($81 million), which is 544 million soms more than for the same period in 2009. Payments to generating stations for consumed electricity amounted to 3.25 billion soms ($70 million), which is 37 percent more than in 2009.

However, official data are causing very serious doubts among experts. They believe that the indicators may be biased. Since no supervisory authority exists today in the country, no one agency conducts an audit of the ministry.

Specialists say that blackouts may often be due to the dramatic deterioration of the equipment of electricity distribution companies. Experts wonder what will happen in December and January which are peak months in terms of power loads. In November many residents of Bishkek already experienced discomfort due to power cuts for several hours. The snowfall in October caused electricity outages for more than two days in Naryn and Issyk-Kul Ob-lasts. So, power outages are quite possible in the coming winter.

According to energy specialists, the annual depreciation of equipment in distribution network is estimated at 4.4 percent per year. Cable lines and transformer substations were set back in the 1960s and many transmission lines are not designed for today's loads.

Alternative energy sources

Alternative energy development remains a hot topic in Kyrgyzstan. However, there are few experts with a solid knowledge of the problems in this industry.

Research shows that renewable energy sources are capable of covering about 50 percent of the country's power demand. Kyrgyzstan has great potential in the area of solar energy. Experts advise the use of solar energy in the southern Osh, Batken and Jalal-Abad oblasts. Solar and geothermal heating has been advised for the Issyk-Kul Ob-last. More than one hundred guest houses are located on the coast of Issyk-Kul Lake and most of them consume electricity to heat water.

Small hydro-power plants constructed on mountain rivers could supply electricity to autonomous rural consumers in mountainous areas difficult to access. For example, development of biogas technology, wind power and small hydro-power stations have been suggested for the Naryn Oblast.

Launching works at Kambarata-2 hydropower plant completed

Kyrgyzstan completes launching works at Kambarata-2 hydropower plant as press service of Electricheskiye Stantsii OJSC reported to 24.kg news agency on December 20.

Reportedly, "it is incorrect to say definitely the power plant does not work." "All technical equipment must undergo the detailed inspection in all modes," they explained in the press service.

"Only from the beginning of the launching of the first power plant on November 27 till November 30 the plant produced 400,000 kWh of electric energy."

KAZAKHSTAN TO INCREASE INVESTMENT IN TAJIK ECONOMY

Source: The Times of Central Asia, R. Nazarov, 4.01.2011

Kazakhstan supports the development of cooperation with Tajikistan in all economic sectors. Last week, Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Masimov paid an official visit to Tajikistan and held several meetings with Tajikistan's top political leaders. Masimov also took part in a business forum and a joint governmental meeting of the two countries.

The Prime Ministers of Kazakhstan and Tajikistan participated in the Kazakh-Tajik business forum and also a presentation of the Kazakh-Tajik direct investment fund.

Addressing the participants of the forum, Tajik Prime Minister Akil Akilov noted that in trade relations with Tajikistan, Kazakhstan is rated second among other CIS countries. In particular, the trade turnover between the two countries this year grew by 5.7%.

"Currently, cooperation between 70 enterprises is well established, and the amount of Kazakh investment to the Tajik economy is increasing significantly. The most striking example may be the investment of the Kazakh company Kazinvestmineral which has invested more than $10 million in Tajikistan's mining industry, and is going to take part in projects of chemical and construction industries in Tajikistan," said Akilov.

Speaking on the Kazakh-Tajik private direct investment fund, Akilov said that it will boost the development of the investment sector and trade cooperation. Tajikistan has established the legal framework and the country is taking measures to improve the investment climate. In particular, a one-stop-shop mechanism, which reduces costs and time for business registration, was introduced.

According to Masimov, the business community together with the governments will implement the agreements that were signed at the highest political level. The progress that has been noticed in Tajikistan over the past year despite the global financial crisis speaks about the economic and political stability in the country. The good news is that the World Bank has included Tajikistan in the top ten business reformers. This is why Kazakh investors are becoming more interested in doing business in Tajikistan. One of the most interesting industries for Kazakhstan is. Tajikistan's hydropower industry. However jusTa small share" ofits large pdtentialis-ettffendy" being used. The'opporturtrties to participate in Tajikistan's energy projects and the exports of Tajik electric power to other Central Asian countries will be considered.

According to the Chairman of the Board of Kazyna Capital Management Abay Alpamysov, the total amount of the Kazakh-Tajik direct investment fund is $80 million. These funds will be directed to implement investment projects in such fields as energy, light and food industries, and others. The maximum amount of investment in one project is $8 million.

According to Davlatali Saidov, chairman of Tajikistan's State Committee on Investments and State Property Management, last year the amount of Kazakh investments in the Tajik economy totaled $40 million. More than 50 joint ventures were established and are currently operating.

Analysts say that the amount of Kazakh investment compared with the Iranian and Chinese is low. Currently, business circles of the two countries are cooperating on a buying-and-selling principle. The cooperation in the industrial sector remains low.

According to Tajikistan's Statistics Agency, the trade turnover between the two countries for the first ten months of this year amounted to approximately $242 million. More than $228 million of the total amount falls to imports of goods (mainly grain and flour) from Kazakhstan. Cotton fiber and dried fruits are exported to Kazakhstan.

As a result of the visit of the Kazakh Prime Minister, a document on cooperation in the tourism industry was signed. According to economists, mountain climbing in Tajikistan might be appealing to Kazakh tourism companies. In order to develop this industry aviation companies are increasing the frequency of air traffic and opening new air routes between Kazakh and Tajik cities.

TAJIKISTAN STARTS CONSTRUCTION OF SANFTUDA-2 HPP DAM

Source: The Times of Central Asia, R. Nazarov, 4.01.2011

On November 28, Tajikistan President Emomali Rakhmon attended a ceremony blocking the Vakhsh River to initiate building a dam for the Sangtuda-2 hydroelectric power plant (HPP).

The ceremony was also attended by Iranian Energy Minister Majid Namju.

According to the Tajik president's website, Rakhmon and Namju pressed buttons that detonated explosives, blocking the Vakhsh River, a tributary of the Amu-Darya River.

Rakhmon got acquainted with the work progress at the site and spoke with engineers and workers involved in the construction of Sangtuda-2.

During the meeting it was noted that the Tajik-Iranian investment is currently worth more than one billion somoni (approximately $225 million) of HPP's construction. About 90 percent of the work is completed.

The two sides said that the Sangtuda-2 HPP will start operating at its full capacity by the 20th anniversary of Tajikistan's independence and the annual production of electric power in Tajikistan will increase by one billion kilowatt hours.

The president also urged people to use power in a rational way by switching to energy saving light bulbs and Appliances.

The Sangtuda-2 HPP with the capacity of 220 megawatts is a joint Tajik-Iranian project built by Tajik and Iranian specialists.

The plant is located on the Vakhsh River, 120 kilometers southeast of Dushanbe. The estimated project capacity is one billion kilowatt hours per year. The planned height of the dam is 31 meters.

The construction of the Sangtuda-2 HPP officially started on February 20, 2006. Iran has allocated over $180 million for the construction of Sangtuda-2 and Tajikistan has invested $40 million in the project. For the first 12.5 years following HPP's commissioning its revenues will belong to Iran. After that, the facility will belong to Tajikistan.