DUSHANBE (TCA) — Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon on October 29 attended the ceremony to officially start the construction of the Rogun Dam, a massive project that, if completed, would be the world’s tallest and should give Tajikistan a stable energy supply, RFE/RL’s Tajik Service reported.
At the inaugural event, explosions were used to block the main riverbed of the Vakhsh River, marking the first substantial step toward building the dam.
The ceremony came a day after a malfunction at Tajikistan’s biggest hydro-power plant caused a nearly three-hour blackout across the country.
Tajikistan is heavily dependent on hydroelectric power and regularly experiences electricity outages.
Authorities say the Rogun Dam will be able to provide electricity for the whole country. They say the dam could also provide parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan with cheap electricity.
Uzbekistan has voiced concern that the dam in southern Tajikistan will reduce water flows to its cotton fields.
Italian construction conglomerate Salini Impregilo won a $3.9 billion contract to build the structure.
Although it will take years to complete the project, the idea is to have two of the six turbines of the Rogun hydro power plant start producing electricity for sale by 2018 to raise funding to complete it. The first turbine is to go into service in August 2018, followed by the second one in October of the same year, the online magazine “We Build Value” of Salini Impregilo reported in July.
On July 1, 2016 Salini Impregilo signed with OJSC Rogun HPP (the Tajik state-controlled company coordinating the project) a framework agreement worth $3.9 billion to build the Rogun Hydropower Project (HPP) in Tajikistan. The signing of the agreement followed an international public tender.
The Italian company was assigned the first lot of the work worth $1.95 billion. It consists in the building of a 335-metre-high rockfill dam with a clay core on the Vakhsh River.
Once completed, the power plant will have 6 turbines of 600 MW each with a total installed capacity of 3,600 MW.