Sangtuda 1 Hydroelectric Power Plant
Sangtuda 1 Hydroelectric Power Plant is a hydroelectric power plant, located on the Vakhsh River in Tajikistan. Construction commenced during the Soviet period in the 1980s, but halted in the beginning of the 1990s due to lack of financing when the station was about 20% complete. An agreement with Russia allowed to restart the construction, with four units entering service in 2008−2009. The plant was officially commissioned on 31 July 2009. Once working at full capacity, the plant will provide around 12% of Tajikistan's electricity output.
Plans to build the power plant were made during the 1970s, with the actual construction commencing in 1989. Dissolution of the Soviet Union, the resulting halt of financing, as well as the Civil War in Tajikistan interrupted the construction for over a decade. In October 2004, an intergovernmental agreement was signed by Russia and Tajikistan to complete the project. In January 2005, Russia, Tajikistan and Iran signed a protocol according to which Russia would participate in construction of Sangtuda 1 and Iran in construction of Sangtuda 2 power plants. Construction resumed in April 2005.
The first unit entered service ahead of schedule on 20 January 2008 during the unusually harsh winter, with temperatures dipping below −20 °C (−4 °F), which put the Tajik energy system on the brink of collapse. The second and third units entered service on 1 July 2008, and 15 November 2008, respectively. The fourth and final unit was brought online on 15 May 2009. On 31 July 2009, the plant was officially commissioned, with the presidents of Russia and Tajikistan Dmitry Medvedev and Emomalii Rahmon participating in the event.
The Sangtuda 1 Hydroelectric Power Plant is located on the Vakhsh River in Khatlon region, 160 kilometres (99 mi) south of Dushanbe. It consist of four units with total capacity of 670 MW and producing 2.7 TWh electricity per year. Furthermore, there are plans to construct a high-voltage power transmission line to Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, allowing Tajikistan to export electricity. The construction cost US$720 million. Russian government and companies has 75% of shares and Tajikistan has 25% plus one share. The power plant is operated by Inter RAO UES.
Launching of the plant is a significant milestone in achieving energy independence for Tajikistan, as the country had experienced severe energy shortages ever since it acquired independence. Once working at full capacity (when the reservoir is completely filled), the plant will provide around 12% of Tajikistan's electricity output. The plant is the largest project within the Commonwealth of Independent States with participation of the Russian companies, including OAO Power Machines, OAO Chekhov Gidrostal Plant, OJSC ChirkeyGESstroy, OAO Zarubezhvodstroy, CJSC Zagranenergostroymontazh, and JSC Trust Gidromontazh. Both the Tajik and the Russian presidents have noted that the project has contributed significantly to strengthening the relations between the two countries.
At the same time, some of Tajikistan's neighbours, especially Uzbekistan, are concerned that construction of large hydroelectric plants within the headwaters of the region's rivers will result in shortages of water downstream.