The World Bank has approved additional funding for the rehabilitation of the Pamir 1 hydro power plant in the Republic of Tajikistan.

The top-up in funding was given due to a financing gap caused by flood damage to equipment and facilities at the plant being upgraded in the Gorno Badakshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO) region of the country. The site was flooded in February 2007 and forced the plant to be shut down, butmore than three-quarters of its capacity has since been brought back.

In a statement, the bank added that the funds would also enable the project company, Pamir Energy, to complete the original project scope by focusing on the rehabilitation and help prevent further accidents. Pamir 1 is being doubled in installed capacity to 28MW (4 x 7MW).

Under the extra funding arrangement, an extra credit of US$4.5M is being provided by the World Bank Group’s International Development Association (IDA) with a 40 years maturity period and 10 years grace at the outset. The Pamir 1 flood rehabilitation has a budget of US$8.3M, just over half of which is funded from insurance payouts.

The Pamir Private Power Project is being developed to improve electricity supplies in the GBAO region, and has a budget of US$26M. The scheme is being run as a 25 year concession granted to Pamir Energy to operate and improve the generation, transmission and distribution facilities in GBAO. The project was approved in 2002.

Work underway to complete the repairs due to the flooding is expected to be completed in 2009 and the entire upgrade project is now due for completion at the end of 2010 – two years later than originally planned.

The World Bank said Tajikistan has hydro power potential of approximately 114GW with generation potential of 527,000 GWh, and less than 5% has been exploited – about 4052MW.

Tajikistan’s power supplies are almost totally based on hydro power, the majority being provided by the Nurek Baipaza cascade on the Vakhsh river. The country, though, is a net electricity importer, mainly from Uzbekistan. The biggest sector of demand is aluminium smelting.

Other plants on the Vakhsh cascade include Nurek (3,000MW), Baipaza (600MW), Golovnaya (240MW), Perepadnaya (30MW) and Centralnaya (15MW). The Sangtuda 1 (670MW) plant is under construction and Sangtuda 2 (220MW) is in planning as is the Rogun (3600MW) scheme, which would be uppermost in the cascade.