CA Water Info
Send e-mail Site's map Feedback Search
News Database Knowledge Base Water World Projects

News: February 2011

PROBLEMS AT KAMBARATA-2 CALL INTO QUESTION PROJECT'S VALUE

Source: The Times of Central Asia, M. Levina, 23.02.2011

A December 2009 explosion to block the Naryn River to create a dam at Kyrgyzstan's Kambarata-2 hydroelectric power plant was unsuccessful, independent expert Rasul Umbetaliyev told a recent press conference in Bishkek.

Kambarata-2 problems

While the bulk of the dam should be 63 meters high, due to the failure of the explosion the height of the right side of the dam is about 47 meters and the height of the left side is 40 meters. Water began to leak at the dam's bottom and over the top of the dam, and there was a danger of dam break. To prevent an emergency equipment was moved from the blast site and the dam was strengthened. As a result costs of construction of Kambarata-2 have increased, explained Umbetaliyev.

Kambarata-2 has a lot of defects. For example, the electric locks do not work in automatic mode and the culverts tightness is not full. The dam will need to be strengthened more since no one knows the density of the bulk earth dam, the expert said.

Kambarata-2 was launched on November 27, 2010. President Roza Otunbayeva attended the solemn trial run of the first unit of Kambarata-2 in late August 2010, on the eve of the country's Independence Day. The plant did not however start working then, and critics concluded that the President was unwittingly involved in some kind of show.

Moreover, some experts be-lieve that the construction of Kambarata-2 is a purely political project of former President Bakiyev and does not have any economic value at all. Kambarata-2 can not work effectively without Kambarata-1 HPP, the construction of which has not yet started.

According to the press-service of the Electric Power Stations JSC, since its launch Kambarata-2 has produced nearly 42 million kWh of electricity.

Cost of electricity

Today the cost of electricity in Kyrgyzstan is about 0.55 som per one kWh, said Umbetaliyev. The expert is confident that the statement of the Minister of Energy that no one in the country knows the exact price of electricity is untrue. He said that no enterprise would start working without knowing the cost of production, which includes electricity. However it is worth considering that the final cost of electric energy includes the cost of energy at generating stations, the cost of power transmission, and the cost at distribution companies. In addition, each distribution company is interested in increasing tariffs. The expert believes it is necessary to create a single distribution company that would introduce a single cost of electricity.

Single Energy Ring

Umbetaliyev also commented on the situation of the Central Asian Single Energy Ring. If Kazakhstan decides to withdraw from the single ring, ,this would mean an energy collapse for Kyrgyzstan in the 2011-2012 autumn/winter season, the expert believes. After recent accidents in the Kyrgyz part of the energy ring when consumers of southern regions of Kazakhstan were left without electricity, Kazakhstan once again declared its intention to withdraw from the unified energy system of Central Asia.

Kazakhstan is currently building power lines going to the south of Kazakhstan where there are shortages of electricity, and is connecting its power grid with Russia's. Uzbekistan is also increasing the capacity of its thermal power stations and power plants.

Electricity in the northern regions of Kyrgyzstan comes from generating stations through a network in Kazakhstan. In autumn and winter the demand of the northern region of Kyrgyzstan is about 1800 MW and the capacity of the 500-krlovolt transmission line from north to south of Kyrgyzstan is 1,000 MW. Thus, demand during this period will be covered only by half.

If Kazakhstan withdraws from the unified energy system of Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan would have to buy electricity from energy companies in the south of Kazakhstan, said Kyrgyz Deputy Energy Minister Avtandil Kalmambetov.

Water could be sold

In 2010 more than a billion cubic meters of water was discharged idle (without generating electricity) from the reservoir of Kyrgyzstan's Toktogul HPR, said Energy Minister Askarbek Shadiev. He believes that the water was not sold because of lack of political will.

In previous years the volume of water in the Toktogul reservoir was very low but today the water and energy balance is favorable and allows selling the water. Parliament supported the minister and suggested creating a working group to conclude an agreement on discharge of water to neighboring countries.