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Expert says construction of Verkhne-Narynsky HPPs questionable

05 September 2017 [17:10] - TODAY.AZ

By  Trend

For Kyrgyzstan which strives to be energy independent from neighboring countries, lack of electricity is an extremely important issue.

However, the implementation of Kyrgyz ambitious project to construct the Verkhne-Narynsky cascade of hydroelectric power plants (HPPs) remains in question.

It is hard to say if the project of the Verkhne-Narynsky cascade of HPPs will be implemented in the near future, Dr Filippo Menga, Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Reading, told Trend.

“Hydroelectric developments in Central Asia are always controversial, and neither of the two upstream countries, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, has managed to move forward their projects, with the two most notable cases being the Kambarata complex in Kyrgyzstan and the Rogun Dam in Tajikistan,” he said.

The downstream countries, and particularly Uzbekistan, strongly oppose the construction of new hydropower plants on the two main regional rivers, the Amu Darya and the Syr Darya, according to the expert.

“They are worried that this will lead to decrease in their water flows. This includes also the Verkhne-Narynsky project, even if it is smaller than the Kambarata Dam or the Rogun Dam,” he added.

Russia was interested to finance the project and signed an intergovernmental agreement with the Central Asian country, but the actual funding did not come about and the agreement was cancelled by Kyrgyzstan, the expert recalled.

“The reason for this might be that Russia did not want to upset Uzbekistan by financing hydro projects in Kyrgyzstan. Recently, this summer, there have been talks about the involvement of a Czech company, which would finance the project, but it is still unclear if this is really to happen,” he added.

The main problem for Kyrgyzstan is to attract foreign investments in its hydropower sector, as the country did not manage to do so in the past, Menga noted.

New actors, and in particular China's Belt and Road Initiative, might lead to a change in this, but at present it is too difficult to make predictions, according to the expert.

The investment agreement with the Czech company Liglass Traiding CZ, SRO for the construction of the Verkhne-Narynsky hydroelectric power plants (HPPs) and small hydropower plants in Kyrgyzstan was signed on Aug 4.

The deal also envisages the attraction of financing in the amount of about $230 million for the construction of the Akbulun HPP and Naryn HPP-1.

In case of investor’s failure to fulfill taken obligations, this investment agreement will be terminated, and all of the funds invested in the authorized capital of Verkhne-Narynskye HPPs CJSC will not reimbursed.

The project of construction of small hydropower plants in Kyrgyzstan is implemented by the Kyrgyz government and Liglass Traiding CZ, SRO, following a tender conducted in accordance with the decree of the government, dated May 15, 2017.


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