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BISHKEK (TCA) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is extending an assistance package of $110 million to help upgrade Kyrgyzstan’s largest power plant, the Toktogul hydro power plant, which produces 40% of the country’s electricity supply and regulates power frequency for Central Asia, the ADB Country Office in Kyrgyzstan reported.

“Power systems at Toktogul are now over 30 years old, critical components are failing, and system losses are mounting,” said Jim Liston, ADB’s Principal Energy Specialist. “A total failure of this hydroelectric plant would be catastrophic both for the domestic market and stability of the Central Asia power system, so an overhaul is critically important.”

The ADB-assisted project will fund the replacement of two of the four existing generator and turbine units, and associated equipment and structures at the Toktogul HPP, owned and operated by the country’s main generation firm, Open Joint-Stock Company Electric Power Plants (EPP). These physical upgrades will increase unit power output from the existing 300 megawatts (MW) to 360MW, boost unit efficiency by 2.5 percentage points, and improve the availability of generated power to 95% from the current 80%. At present, technical system losses of electricity have reached as high as 15% of the plant’s net supply.

The project will also underpin broader government efforts to improve finances, governance and management of the power sector. This will include preparation of a sector master plan, including 20-year demand projections, and an asset assessment and revaluation of seven power supply companies, along with Bishkekteploset, a heating and hot water distribution firm. It will also carry out a feasibility study on the rehabilitation of the Uch Kurgan hydroelectric plant and draw up a business process modernization plan for EPP.

ADB’s assistance includes a loan of $65.5 million and a grant of $44.5 million, both from the concessional Asian Development Fund. The Government of the Kyrgyz Republic will provide counterpart assistance of almost $41 million equivalent. The full overhaul of the plant will be done in 3 phases, with the current phase 2 project being carried out over 7 years, with an expected completion date of end December 2021.

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