President Emomali Rahmon who is currently in Nurek for participation in Navrouz celebrations has given an official start to implementation of Nurek hydropower plant rehabilitation project.

While in Nurek, Rahmon reportedly also met with representatives of the company that is engaged in rehabilitating the Nurek hydropower plant. 

Recall, an international tender for rehabilitation of the Nurek HPP (Phase I) was announced in late August 2017.  

International technology Group ANDRITZ (Austria) was selected by Barqi Tojik (national integrated power company of Tajikistan) from among three companies participating in the tender.

The World Bank on May 3, 2017 approved US$225.7 million in financing from the International Development Association (IDA) for the Nurek Rehabilitation Project.

The World Bank financing, one-quarter in grants and three-quarters in credits, will refurbish the Nurek Hydropower Plant (HPP) that will help secure electricity supply in winter and boost economic productivity and the people of Tajikistan and local enterprises will gain access to a more reliable supply of electricity.

The first phase of the Nurek Hydropower Plant (HPP) rehabilitation costs an estimated US$350 million. In addition to the World Bank’s IDA support, additional financing will be provided by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (US$60 million), the Eurasian Development Bank (US$40 million), and other sources (US$24 million).  With these funds, the Tajik authorities will rehabilitate three generating units and replace six autotransformers used to regulate voltage of the generated electricity (US$310 million); enhance dam safety, including a special focus on the protection against seismic hazards and floods (US$30 million); and strengthen the institutional capacity of open joint stock holding company Barqi Tojik and improve its operational and financial performance (US$10 million).

The ANDRITZ scope of supply comprises comprehensive modernization of the existing nine generating units by supplying and installing new 380 MW Francis turbines and generators, including new transformers, as well as the electrical and mechanical auxiliary equipment within the power house.  After modernization, the installed capacity of the generating units will be increased by about 12%.

The rehabilitation of Nurek will safeguard the electrical energy supply in Tajikistan and make an important contribution towards the strategic use of renewable energy from hydropower in Central Asia.  It also offers interesting opportunities for exporting energy to neighboring countries, with the related economic benefits for the countries concerned.

Until the gigantic Roghun dam is completed, the Nurek hydroelectric power plant (HPP) will remain the largest power-producing facility of its type in the Central Asian region.

Nurek only lost its status as the world tallest dam — at 300 meters — in 2013, when China inaugurated its Jinping-I Dam, which is but a handful of meters higher.

The 3,000-megawatt plant lies along the lower end of the Vakhsh River, which in turn feeds the more famous Amu-Darya.

Roghun Dam, which is under construction further upstream along the Vakhsh, will, if all goes to plan, soar to a height of 335 meters.

Construction of Nurek began in the early 1960s and took decades to complete. The first turbine went online in 1972.  It was as late as 1988 that the plant reached peak output levels.

Any sudden and irreparable malfunctions at Nurek would be catastrophic.  The plant meets around 70 percent of Tajikistan’s electricity needs.

There was a small forewarning of what that eventuality could entail in late October 2016, when a temporary technical fault unplugged massive swathes of the country for around three hours.  The sudden shortage of electricity in turn caused a halt of numerous alumina smelters at the TALCO aluminum plant, the country’s largest non-hydropower-related industrial concern.  Damage caused to the aluminum plant caused a considerable falloff in productivity.

The Nurek HPP, with an installed capacity in excess of 3,000 megawatts, is the key asset of Tajikistan’s energy system.  Its rehabilitation is central to the Government’s efforts to provide reliable electricity supply, especially during the winter months.  The power plant, which generates about 70 percent of total annual energy demand, suffers from dilapidated equipment and infrastructure.  The facility did not go through major rehabilitation since it was commissioned in 1972; it is currently only 77 percent operational.

ANDRITZ is a globally leading supplier of plants, equipment, and services for hydropower stations, the pulp and paper industry, the metal working and steel industries, and for solid/liquid separation in the municipal and industrial segments.  ANDRITZ employs 26,000 employees at more than 250 production and service facilities in over 40 countries worldwide.

ANDRITZ Hydro is one of the leading global suppliers of electromechanical equipment for hydropower plants. With more than 31,000 turbines installed, totaling approximately 430,000 megawatts output, the business area provides the complete range of products, including turbines, generators, and additional equipment of all types and sizes – “from water to wire” for small hydro applications to large hydropower plants with outputs of more than 800 megawatts per turbine unit.  ANDRITZ Hydro has a leading position in the growing modernization, refurbishment, and upgrade market for existing hydropower plants.