Uzvodenergo, part of Uzbekistan's Ministry of Agriculture, is scheduled to launch the 3MW Urgut hydroelectric power plant during August, according to the Interfax news agency.

The US$5.6M plant has been built on an irrigation channel in the Samarkand region and will generate 12MkWh of electricity each year. The Urgut plant is the first of a number of small hydroelectric power plants to be constructed in Uzbekistan under a government programme approved in 1995.

Under the programme, 15 hydroelectric power plants with a total installed capacity of 423MW will be built in Uzbekistan by 2010. These plants will generate 1.36BkWh of electricity each year, and will facilitate the saving of 518Mt of fuel oil worth US$18M a year at thermal power plants.

By the end of this year, two generating units of 15MW each will be launched at the Tupolanga hydro plant that is under construction in the Surkhandarya region. These two units will generate 88MkWh of electricity each year. A total of four generating units will be constructed at the US$133M plant with a total installed capacity of 175MW; the additional two units will be 72.5MW each.

Plants of 45MW and 21MW capacities are to be constructed at the Gissar reservoir in the Kashkadarya region and at the Akhangaran reservoir in the Tashkent region respectively.