17 december 2017

Central Asia news

Uzbek President interested in buying shares of constructed Kyrgyz hydropower plant

29.11.2017 11:16 msk

Fergananews


President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev announced the possibility of the country's shareholding in the construction of Kambarata-1 hydropower plant (HPP) in Kyrgyzstan. As reported by Azattyk Radio, the Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan Sapar Isakov stated this at the session of the Jogorku Kenesh (Kyrgyz parliament).

According to Isakov, the presidents of the two countries discussed this issue at their recent meeting. "Before that, they were against the construction of 'Kambarata-1.' Now they support. Besides, Uzbekistan says that it can enter this project as one of its shareholders. We must build this hydroelectric power plant through the efforts of Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and other neighbouring states," the Prime Minister described the position of the Uzbek side.


Presidents Atambayev and Mirziyoyev. Photo by the press service of the President of Kyrgyzstan

In October, it was reported that, following the talks between presidents Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Almazbek Atambayev, Uzbekgidroenergo and the Kyrgyz National Energy Holding Company signed the memorandum on cooperation in the construction of the Kambarata HPPs.

The Soviet Union approved projects of the Kambarata HPPs No. 1 and No. 2 on the Naryn River in 1988, starting the construction in the same year. However, in 1994 the construction was suspended due to lack of funding. At that time, 25 percent of the work had been completed. In 2008, the construction of the Kambarata-2 HPP resumed with the assistance of the Russian government, which also allocated an interest-free loan to Kyrgyzstan for the construction of Kambarata-1 HPP in 2009. In 2010, the first unit of the Kambarata-2 HPP was launched.

But then cooperation with Russia has stalled. In 2012, an agreement was reached that the RusHydro company will complete the two HPPs. But in 2016, the Kyrgyz government initiated the termination of this agreement.

In 2016, the expert on the Middle East and Central Asia, Alexander Knyazev, said that the construction of the Kambarata hydroelectric stations is inappropriate in the new realities.

According to him, the project was developed in the conditions of a single state, when it was easy to coordinate the interests of Kyrgyzstan and countries located in the downstream of Naryn River - Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan. Then the republic could easily redistribute water among themselves, on the one hand, and electricity, on the other.

"But now Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan have no confidence in the Kyrgyz side, and there are many questions on this hydropower plant at once," Knyazev concluded.

The expert also noted that Kyrgyzstan continues to insist on too much capacity of the hydroelectric power station, although there will be nowhere to spend extra electricity in the current economic and political situation.

Nevertheless, Kyrgyzstan still sees a solution to the problem of electricity shortage in the construction of the Kambarata hydropower plants. In turn, the late Uzbek president Islam Karimov categorically opposed to not only the construction of Kambarata-1 and the "Verkhne-Naryn" cascade of hydroelectric power stations but also Rogun HPP in Tajikistan. He even claimed the likelihood of war if the interests of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan in the allocation of water resources would not be taken into account.

Fergana News Agency