03/02/2014 - Cold weather pushes up demand for electricity, exacerbating energy crisis in Kyrgyzstan
Despite the warm weather in December, the country recorded a historic high of daily electricity consumption - 69 million kWh. A further increase in electricity consumption may disrupt normal operation of the power system, the Ministry of Energy and Industry warned.
From January 30 to February 12, the energy companies are taking additional measures to ensure uninterrupted power supply to the population. Additional teams of electricians to eliminate outages have been created.
In order to ensure uninterrupted power supply, the Ministry of Energy asked the population to save energy, reduce the use of electric heaters in the morning and evening peak load hours, and to use more coal and gas for cooking and home heating.
The energy sector of Kyrgyzstan has not achieved its planned performance due to lack of water in the Toktogul reservoir, the Minister of Economy Temir Sariev said. So, the export of electricity has been limited. Despite this, the Government managed to get enough money to prepare for the autumn and winter heating season and to procure the necessary fuel.
To keep the power supply, the country has to build new energy facilities. According to the development strategy of the energy sector, the annual growth of electricity generation should be 7.5 percent. If Kyrgyzstan builds new generating facilities planned by the strategy, the country will be able to produce more than 7 billion kilowatt-hours annually till 2016, Sariev said at a cabinet meeting on February 1.
The Government has advised the Ministry of Energy to accelerate the development of the mid-term electricity and heat tariff policy for 2014-2017. The Government will revise the tariffs for industrial facilities while the social tariffs will remain the same, said Prime Minister Jantoro Satybaldiev. Tariffs will be different for production and heating.
The Ministry was also instructed to take measures for the construction of major national projects in the energy sector under the National Strategy for Sustainable Development for 2013-2017 (NSSD).
Over 90% of electricity in the country is generated by hydroelectric power stations. The rest is produced by thermal power plants. However, this process virtually fails to involve small and medium energy. Today, the degree of development of water resources of small rivers in the country only totals 3%.
According to the NSSD, the main goal of the energy sector is to ensure the energy security of Kyrgyzstan and the development of export potential. The country has to ensure an uninterrupted supply of electricity, primarily to domestic consumers, and to ensure the implementation of a balanced tariff policy, which provides for coverage of costs of energy companies. As a result, the Government has to bring the energy sector to profitability and improve conditions for attracting investments in hydropower projects.
The implementation of this task will allow Kyrgyzstan to become a major producer of electricity in the region by 2017, and fully provide its population with electricity and increase the export of electricity to neighboring countries, says NSSD.
At the last Government meeting, Minister Sariev offered to upgrade the Bishkek Thermoelectric Power Plant (TEP) as soon as possible. Last year, the Kyrgyz Parliament ratified an agreement with the Export-Import Bank of China which is ready to allocate funds for the modernization of the Bishkek TEP. The Chinese side and the Ministry of Energy of Kyrgyzstan are lobbying the interests of the Tebian Electric Apparatus Stock (TBEA) company, which assessed the TEP modernization at $386 million.
There are many disagreements around the modernization of the Bishkek TEP. The management of the Electric Stations JSC is lobbying the worst option for the modernization, expert Ernest Karybekov told the media. The feasibility study is designed for Chinese production equipment, and the expert doubts that this equipment can be applied at the Bishkek TEP. This will affect the price of heat and electricity produced by the power plant, and accordingly, the consumers will incur higher costs, he added.
In 2012, a Russian company, KOTES, claimed to participate in the reconstruction of the Bishkek TEP but, according to the Ministry of Energy, the company offered an expensive project. The Russian company prepared a conceptual Bishkek TEP expansion project worth $518 million, which was later used as the basis to compare offers of Chinese companies.
Construction of new energy facilities and reconstruction of the existing ones allowed Kyrgyzstan to gain electricity independence in the southern region of the country. Thanks to the modernization of power lines in the south of Kyrgyzstan, the country will no longer pay Uzbekistan for the transit of electricity from the Toktogul HPP to the Batken and Osh oblasts. Earlier, Kyrgyzstan had to pay Uzbekistan more than $8 million annually. Since August 30, 2013, when the Datka substation was put into operation, Kyrgyzstan has ceased to pay for the electricity transit. The commissioning of the updated energy facilities will not prevent the parallel power operation in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, the Ministry said. Teamwork will help significantly increase the quality of electricity supply to consumers in both countries. The parallel operation is currently used worldwide.
According to the National Electric Network JSC, as a part of the project, 500-220 kV Datka substation was built 30 km from Jalal-Abad, and the existing substations near the cities of Osh and Kyzyl-Kiya were reconstructed. The project was implemented due to a $208 million loan of the Export-Import Bank of China. All construction works were carried out by the Chinese company TBEA.