Joint Russian Tajik project to power up Central Asia

President Medvedev of Russia and President Rahmon of Tajikistan have opened a new hydro-electric plant in the Pamir mountains, which will make the Central Asian state self sufficient in electricity.

The new plant, located on the river Vacsh – or wild – is the most powerful hydroelectric facility in a post soviet nation, with the capacity of 670 megawatts. It was built with the help of $700 million Russian investment. Yury Sharov, Board Member at Inter RAO UES, says its an investment for the longer term.

“Originally, we planned that the return on investment would be in 15 years. Now we've recalculated it a little, because of the crisis, and lowered tariffs and we now think that the return will be in 18, maximum 20 years. For hydro-electric plants this is a normal period.”

Russia holds a 75% share in the project, leaving Tajikistan with 25% plus 1 share.

It is the biggest joint project completed by Russia and Tajikistan in decades. With the help of this hydroelectric plant Tajikistan can fully supply its domestic market with electricity and even export some during the summer.

Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev, who participated in the official launch, lauded it a joint project which will provide valuable experience for the engineers, help underpin the regions electricity supply well into the future, and possibly enable exports.

“Russian and Tajik engineers and workers have gained useful experience in joint construction of major facilities. There has been nothing like this done in the past 20 years, therefore this is a landmark event in the life of our countries. I believe we will use this experience in implementing new major projects not only in the hydropower engineering.”

The Sanguda power plant means less water for the drying up region, but it’s hoped it will solve the key problem of energy security.