Report by Muhammad Al-Mumen
DUSHANBE, Sept 14 (KUNA) -- As Tajikistan was marking its 28th anniversary of Independence on September 9, it also celebrated the launch of the second unit of Rogun Dam, a mega hydroelectric power plant project aimed at doubling the country's power capacity, overcoming internal electricity shortage issues, and exporting clean energy to neighboring countries.
Tajik President Emomali Rahmon patronized the much-anticipated grand ceremonial event by personally setting the second of six units' turbine of this grand hydropower facility in motion in presence of the country's senior government officials, foreign diplomats, energy experts, construction workers, and the area residents.
Furthermore, over 140 local and foreign media reporters, including reputable international news agencies from Kuwait, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, US, UK, Italy, Germany, Russia, Japan, China, Iran, India, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan covered the event, held at the Rogun Dam in southern the country.
"We launched the first unit of this 'palace of light' recently on November 16 of last year, and this facility has already generated 570m kv/h of power by far and dispatched it to our country's energy grid," Rahmon said in his speech at the ceremony.
"This vitally important facility is constructed in line with international safety standards with the use of the latest technologies, and in the nearest future it will not only illuminate the houses of Tajikistan residents but also will serve countries of the region," said Rahmon.
He noted that construction of hydroelectric power stations on Tajikistan's rivers would help ensure balance between electricity and water consumption, adding it would also ensure sustainable water management, in addition to reducing electricity shortages in the region.
"About 60 percent of water resources of Central Asia are formed in Tajikistan's territory, and our country ranks sixth in the world in terms of production green energy from renewable sources," said the Tajik President.
The Rogun hydropower plant dam is located about 90 kilometers from Dushanbe, the capital, and is raised to the point of 1065 meter above the sea as six million cubic meter of construction material is laid in layers.
Constructed on the Vakhsh River in the Pamir Mountains under a main supervision by the Italian-based Salini Impergilo company, the rock-filled dam is expected to reach a total capacity of 3,600 MW, which is over 17 billion kWh, through its six units, each with capacity of 600 MW, making Rogun the most powerful hydroelectric plant in Central Asia.
The projected USD 3.9 billion-worth project aims to double Tajikistan's energy production to eliminate domestic electrical shortages and export surplus electricity to neighboring countries such as Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
"The project's goal is to solve the country's problem with electricity shortages during winter seasons, and export clean energy to neighboring countries," Anvar Rahmonov, Director of Production at Rogun Dam, stated to reporters on September 8.
"There are more than 60 companies representing Tajikistan, Italy, and Germany are currently working in the dam," he noted, adding all works are being done with high quality and within the time schedule to supply the general population in Tajikistan with sufficient electricity.
The project, slated for completion by 2028, is expected to amount to 335 meters in height, becoming the tallest hydroelectric dam in the world. It would surpass in height China's Jinping-I Dam by 30 meters, and Tajikistan's own Norak Dam by 35 meters.
"So far, 70 percent of the work has been completed. The Second unit was achieved in a record time. As for the third unit, according to our plan, we expect to fully launch it between 2024 and 2025," Rahmonov told KUNA.
After the full commissioning of such an ambitious hydropower plant, it is possible to create dozens of small and large industrial enterprises and thousands of new jobs in the country.
Initial construction on the dam began in 1976, during the Soviet era. It stalled in 1991 after the breakup of the Soviet Union and outbreak of the civil war, which lasted until in 1997.
The project eventually resumed in 2016 when President Rahmon officially launched the construction of the dam. In 2018, the Tajik President oversaw the launch of the first unit at the Rogun Dam. (end) ma