Energy is on the focus

By Cholpon Sulaimanova

Energy in Kyrgyzstan: development policy


Kyrgyzstan is one of the states that have huge hydropower resources, the potential of which according to experts is 142 billion kWh. However, at present the level of development of all potential reserves of water resources of the republic makes on average about 10%.

How it happened


The current energy system in Central Asia was formed during the Soviet Union. Then Kyrgyzstan was one of the largest producers of hydroelectric power in the region and delivered up to 50% of the produced electricity to the united energy system of Central Asia. In accordance to the regional system of the USSR on water-energy balance in Central Asia, the water resources of Kyrgyzstan were stored in the Toktogul, Kirov and Orto-Tokoi reservoirs to provide Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan with irrigation water in summer period. And as a compensation Kyrgyzstan received from neighboring republics gas, fuel oil and coal. In addition, by the decision of leaders of the Soviet Union and by mutual agreement of the republics of Central Asia, a monetary compensation was provided in the budget of Toktogul region for flooded coastal lands of the Naryn River.


Fragile network


But after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the situation has changed. Water and energy balance of the region became a disputable question. Each country in Central Asia had sought a benefit for themselves at the expense of other states. However, despite this, the coherence of water and energy balance, thanks to Governments of the republics of the region, is still preserved, but the balance is very fragile. Thus, till now the united energy network includes of Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. But, last year due to Uzbekistan’s unauthorized picking electricity, Kazakhstan threatened to get out of the network, by turning off all the 500 kW, 220 kW lines, which bind Uzbekistan, north of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. After intense negotiations at the beginning of the year, the three states have decided to keep energy network. However, this problem was raised again in autumn.


It should be noted that in case of Kazakhstan’s withdrawal from the network, then in the north of Kyrgyzstan power deficit would be make 40%. As neighboring states can change their position at any time, Kyrgyzstan has to be prepared to take adequate measures. For this the country has to work out a policy to develop its own independent power and create its own internal network.

Real measures


The current government is making real steps and taking effective measures in solving the energy independence and security problems of Kyrgyzstan. President Almazbek Atambayev pays much attention to this problem and the most effective were his negotiations with potential investors on joint implementation of energy projects. Currently several projects have been launched in this area. Thus, for example, 142 km and 110 kW capacity high-voltage line "Aigul-Tash - Samat" was built and put into operation at the end of last year for the funds allocated by the Islamic Development Bank amounting of $ 11.9 million. The construction of the high voltage transmission line allowed avoiding the additional costs for the purchase of electricity from Tajikistan and Batken region became energy independent region.


> Map of Kyrgyzstan



In addition, the Chinese company "TBEA" has started construction of the substation "Datka-South" in Bazar-Korgon region. After putting into operation of this substation Osh, Jalal-Abad and Batken oblasts can get electricity from hydropower station, downstream of the Naryn River, directly. In the meantime, not only the south of the country, but the whole country gets energy through neighboring Uzbekistan. Only for transit Kyrgyzstan has to pay the neighboring republic 13-14 million dollars a year.


The current leadership of the republic took care of energy security of the north of the republic. President Atambayev during his inauguration ceremony said that a substation Kemin and high-voltage line connecting Kemin and Datka substations will be constructed in Kyrgyzstan. The work on the construction of 500 kV transmission line "Datka-Kemin" has already started by Chinese "TBEA". Experts say that, if the next two years "Kemin" is built, Kyrgyzstan will be less dependent from surprises in the energy network.


Russian vector


It is important that the leadership of the country does not stop at what has been achieved. During the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Kyrgyzstan in October of this year an agreement was signed on construction of hydropower station Kambar-Ata-1 and Upper Naryn cascade. Under the agreement, the Russian company "RusHydro" will build during 3-4 years four hydropower stations on Naryn river, which fully meet environmental regulations and standards. The other hydropower station Kambarata- 1, the capacity of which is 1900 MW will be built by a Russian "Inter RAO UES". Not very long process of negotiations and clarifying positions between the leaders of the two countries preceded all these.


Russian companies planned beginning of construction of the hydropower stations for spring 2013. A capsule laying ceremony on the place of construction of the hydro power station was held at the end of October with the participation of the head of state. During the ceremony A. Atambayev emphasized the importance of Russian investments in the energy sector of the country and said that Kyrgyzstan and Russia will be happy to have as partners other neighboring states too, which "will also benefit from the implementation of these large-scale joint projects".


Minister of Energy and Industry Avtandil Kalmambetov after the talks with Russian investors decided to assure that after the construction of the hydropower station Kyrgyzstan will solve all problems in the field of energy.


Problems in the power industry still remain. Depreciation of equipment installed during the Soviet times, the transmission and distribution networks, power lines, transformers continues to make themselves felt. Large commercial losses in the energy sector also arouse concern. In the opinion of experts, for the renovation and modernization of power objects the republic it is necessary for the beginning to make their inventory and accounting, including at the Bishkek power and heating station , where boilers are worn and need replacing. According to calculations, in order to upgrade all facilities billions of funds are required and our state does not have such money. It follows that the strategic question – it is necessary to attract investors and ensure the safety of their investments.


Taking into account the fact that over 20 years of independence, investment in the energy sector of Kyrgyzstan totaled over $ 300 million and the population did not see the results of these investments, there appears a question of effectiveness of such investments. Therefore, the state must take firm control the use of $ 600 million of investments, which the country received only for the last 2 years, that is, after the coming to power of a new government.


Information-Analytical Center of Kabar