Salini Impregilo, the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor, announced that the first turbine at the $3.9bn Rogun hydroelectric dam has been inaugurated by Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon.


Image: Rogun hydroelectric dam. Photo: Courtesy of Salini Impregilo S.p.A.

With the turbine at the Rogun hydroelectric dam coming online, the country’s energy production is expected to double. President Rahmon watched as the rotor of Unit 6 came to life in the dam’s power house in the presence of government officials and foreign dignitaries, including World Bank Vice President, Europe and Central Asia Cyril Muller, Italian Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Manlio Di Stefano and Salini Impregilo CEO Pietro Salini.

The dam is owned by Rogun Hydropower Project, a state-run company that is coordinating the project. The rockfall dam with a loam core is being built by Salini Impregilo under an EPC contract. This dam is claimed to be one of the tallest dams in the world at 335m.

Salini Impregilo is doing the main civil works and related services. With the dam crest at an elevation of 1,300 meters above the sea level, Rogun is also expected to become the world’s highest dam, breaking the record held by the Nurek Dam, also in Tajikistan.

Unit 6 at the Rogun dam is the first of six turbines being installed. Each with a capacity of 600MW, the total installed capacity will eventually be 3.6GW, which is equal to three nuclear power plants. Such huge capacity will make Rogun the most powerful hydroelectric dam in Central Asia, claimed Salini Impregilo.

It is located in the upper reaches of the Vakhsh River in the Pamir Mountains, Rogun is about 90 kilometres from Dushanbe, the capital.

Work on the dam has already seen the diversion of the river with the erection of a cofferdam, channelling its waters through two diversion tunnels in a mountainside to keep the foundations of the dam dry.

A second turbine is expected to begin generating electricity next year in what is called ‘early generation’, by putting into operation part of the dam before it is completed.

The early start of these turbines will allow the country cope with internal electricity demand, especially during winter months when thousands of families that light and heat. The electricity generated from the plant will also be sold to neighbouring countries.