President of the Republic of Tajikistan

Renovation of the Norak Hydroelectric Power Plant

20.03.2019 08:50, Norak city

On March 20, on the eve international Navruz celebrations in Norak, the Founder of Peace and National Unity, Leader of the Nation, President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon officially kicked off the implementation of the project “Renovation of the Norak Hydroelectric Power Plant” and became familiar with the progress of the reconstruction of the hydro units.

First, the head of state was presented with the renovation project of the power plant.

It is worth noting that the Norak Hydroelectric Power Plant is the largest in Central Asia. Its construction began in 1961 and on March 26, 1966, the Vakhsh riverbed was blocked off. The first hydro unit of the station with the capacity of 300 MW was commissioned on November 15, 1972. The station consists of 9 hydro units. It had been working with a total capacity of 2,700 MW since 1979. In 1988, due to the reconstruction of the hydro units, the design capacity of the power plant on 8 hydro units was increased from 335 MW and on another from 320 MW to reach 3,000 MW.

Today, 710 people are working at the Norak Hydroelectric Power Plant, including 160 women. The number of engineering and technical staff is 204 people.

The Norak reservoir is an annual stroage reservoir, extending 70 kilometers from the dam. The volume of the reservoir is 10.5 cubic kilometers, of which 4.5 cubic kilometers is used to generate electricity during the autumn-winter period. The 300-meter-tall stone-earth hydraulic complex is considered the highest dam of this kind today.

The powerplant’s average annual electricity production is 11.2 billion kWh. From the day it was first utilized up to date the plant has produced 448.8 billion kWh, of which 306.8 billion kWh have been produced after Tajikistan’s independence.

Due to the deterioration of the main equipment, the powerplant’s current capacity is approximately 2,600 MW.

After the implementation of the restoration of the Norak Hydroelectric Powerplant project, the plant’s design capacity will be increased from 3,000 to 3,300 MW, and considering its renewable potential, the plants’ generation capacity will increase by 700 MW, the level and quality of service at the plant will improve, as will the country’s electricity supply.

Thanks to the ongoing efforts of the Leader of the Nation Emomali Rahmon and his taking into account the significance of the powerplant in the development of the national economy and the need to implement one of the strategic political goals, i.e. achieving full energy independence during 2015-2016 within the framework of bilateral cooperation of the government of Tajikistan with the World Bank, as well as the engagement of advisory companies from France, a feasibility study of the “Reconstruction of Norak Hydroelectric Powerplant and Ensuring the Dam’s Safety” has been prepared.

In accordance with the feasibility study, reconstruction and renovation of the powerplant was determined to cost up to $700 million. The total project implementation period is 10 years and depending on the fund’s availability, will be implemented in two stages.

The first stage of the project consists of four parts: the replacement of 3 hydro units and their auxiliary equipment, replacement of autotransformers (6 hydro units of single-phase 220 / 500kV autotransformers) and ensuring the safety of the dam. The implementation period’s duration is 5 years (2019-2023).

Overall, up to date, $326,900,000 has been raised in investments, of which $169,134,000 is a loan, $57,800,000 a grant from the World Bank, $60,000,000 a loan from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and $40,000,000 a loan from the Eurasian Development Bank.

The second stage of the project covers the reconstruction of six remaining hydro units and ancillary equipment. It will be implemented within 5 years (2024-2028), costing $ 148,600,000 million.

It is worth noting that during the actual implementation of the project, contractors will use modern equipment and technology to efficiently reconstruct the aggregates of the Norak Hydroelectric Powerplant.

It should be emphasized that after the reconstruction and renovation is brought to completion, the entire system of the powerplant will be replaced with the latest and developed technology in this sphere.

During his familiarization with the renovation project of the Norak Hydroelectric Powerplant, Emomali Rahmon gave specific instructions to the heads of the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources to control the quality of work and also gave useful advice to the contractor of the project, an Austrian company "Andritz Hydro", the consultant of the project, a Swiss company "Stucky Ltd" and the subcontractor of the project, a domestic company "Tajik SGEM" regarding the timely implementation of the project.

Andritz Hydro is one of the most influential global companies producing electromechanical equipment for hydroelectric powerplants, also focusing on the reconstruction, renewal and increase of the energy capacities of hydroelectric powerplants, pumping stations and turbine generators. During its 175-year activity, the company produced and installed more than 31,000 turbines with a total capacity of 430,000 MW. The company has established offices in all regions, including India, China, USA, Canada and Brazil, and operates in dozens of other countries around the world. Currently, the company is involved in the implementation of 16 large-scale projects.

It should be noted that since 2005, with the support of the development partners, work has been carried out to clean up the lower level of the reservoir, monitor the safety of the dam, create 500kV and 220 kV gas insulation distribution equipment, replace the transformer on the generator number 8 with a capacity of 450 MVA and with the financial support of "Barki Tojik" to replace the impeller of the hydro unit number 4.

During 2010-2016, with the support of KfW Development Bank and Asian Development Bank, the German company "АLSTOM Grid GmbH" has implemented the restoration projects for the 220/500 kV open distribution equipment at the Norak Hydroelectric Powerplant.

During his working trips to the city of Norak, within the framework of Restoration of 220kV and 500kV Open Distribution Equipment project’s implementation, on August 13, 2013, President Emomali Rahmon put into operation the new 220 kV electrical distribution equipment, which is the most important part of this strategic facility. Likewise, on April 27, 2016, the 500 kV closed distribution gas-insulated equipment was put into operation.

The project’s main equipment was produced at industrial enterprises in Europe, including Switzerland, France, Germany, Poland and Spain and thereafter delivered to Tajikistan.

After having been familiarized with the work of the reconstruction of the hydro units and dam safety, President Emomali Rahmon gave specific instructions to the responsible parties and reiterated the tremendous importance of the hydroelectric powerplant for the socio-economic development, especially in the implementation of the fourth national goal of the government of Tajikistan, i.e. the rapid industrialization of the country.

Since independence, in order to implement the government’s constructive plans for achieving energy independence and the large-scale tasks set by the head of state aiming at ensuring a decent life for the people, on the instructions of the leader of the country Emomali Rahmon commenced the rational and economical use of hydropower resources, as well as the construction and reconstruction of large and small hydroelectric powerplants, high-voltage power lines and electrical substations.

The start of the restoration and construction of Roghun, rebuilding of Norak, Sarband, Kairokkum hydroelectric powerplants, the launch of Sangtuda-1, Sangtuda-2, Pomir-1, Tojikiston at an altitude of 3500 meters above sea level in the remote area of Murghob, thermal power plant Dushanbe-2, electric substations Dushanbe and Sughd with a capacity of 500 KW, power transmission lines South-North, electric and gas insulated switchgear with a capacity of 200 and 500 KW within Norak, substations Lolazor, Khatlon, Ayni, Shahriston, Shahrinav, Geran-2 with a capacity of 200 KW, power transmission lines with a capacity of 200 KW Lolazor-Khatlon, Tajikistan-Afghanistan, Khujand-Ayni, Kayrokkum-Sughd, Ayni-Rudaki, as well as commencement of an implementation of CASA-1000 project have been among the noticeable achievements of Tajikistan and have been leading toward energy independence and have been implemented under the prudent policy of President Emomali Rahmon. Since the implementation of these projects in the past 10 years, the production capacity of the country's energy system has increased by 1320 MW and more than 1300 kilometers of power transmission lines with a capacity of 220, 500 and 110 KW have been built.

Another constructive initiative of President Emomali Rahmon toward achieving the strategic goals of the government of Tajikistan is the reconstruction and renovation of Norak, Sarband and Qayroqqum hydroelectric power stations.

Currently, reconstruction and renovation work of the Sarband hydroelectric station is underway in the Khatlon region. In May 2019, reconstruction work will begin on the Qairoqqum hydroelectric station in the Sughd region.

The 240 MW design capacity of Sarband Hydropower Plant is the 4th largest, coming after Norak Hydro Powerplant (3000 MW), Sangtuda-1 (670 MW) and Boyghozi (600 MW).

The construction of this hydroelectric powerplant, consisting of 6 hydro units, began in 1956, and its first hydro unit was launched in 1962. From that time until today, except for the hydro unit number 4, no reconstruction and renovation work has been carried out for increasing the level of service and the efficiency of the hydroelectric power plant operations. In addition, due to the failure of the system for monitoring and regulating the water level in 1993 and 1994, the hydro unit number 2 was partially flooded.

Also, due to their extensive use, most of the electromechanical, electro and hydro-mechanical equipment and devices for distribution are very outdated.

Considering this and the high cost of maintaining the hydro units in operation, according to President’s instructions, work began on the repair and reconstruction of the station.

It should be noted that all the creative undertakings of the Founder of Peace and National Unity, Leader of the Nation, President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon are aimed at developing all spheres of the national economy, achieving full energy independence and ensuring a decent life for the people of sovereign Tajikistan.

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