The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is to provide a grant worth US$2M to Tajikistan for use in funding the construction of micro hydroelectric power plants in rural areas.

The grant, from ADB’s Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction, provided by the Government of Japan, will establish a community-based run-of-river micro hydro power system in six poor communities, with each system capable of supplying electricity to about 400 households.

Electricity supply in the country’s remote rural areas is deteriorating. In addition, supply is low during the harsh winter season as about 95% of the country’s internally generated electricity comes from hydro power in mountain streams, which have a lower flow during the winter months.

‘Because of the mountainous topography, micro hydro generation tends to be the least cost way of providing additional electricity to remote communities,’ said Teruhisa Oi, an ADB Social Development Specialist.

The project will target ongoing ADB-financed road project areas. The beneficiary communities will be chosen based on their level of poverty as well as their commitment and involvement in the project.

A community-based organisation in each project area will be incorporated and, with adequate training and support, will be tasked with operating the micro hydro plants and distributing electricity to households.

To promote energy efficiency, a household model introducing energy-saving bulbs and other extensively used appliances will also be established in each project site.

The Government and the beneficiary communities will contribute US$398,970 equivalent to toward the project’s estimated cost of US$2,398,970. The Ministry of Energy is the executing agency for the project, which will be carried out over 17 months.