Kambar-Ata II opens its first unit

Builders recognize that the new HEP plant is not yet comparable with the station at Toktogul
Authorities called the event “historic” for Kyrgyzstan. Employees of the Hydro Electric Station admit that the launch at the opening ceremony was a “bachelor”.

The ceremony launching the first functioning unit of Kambar-Ata HPP-2 took place on August 30 in the presence of Kyrgyz President Rosa Otunbayeva.

“We are in third place in the CIS in terms of hydro resources, but only use ten percent [of those resources],” said Otunbayeva at the opening ceremony.

“We all know about the blackouts,” continued the head of state, referring to the regular, scheduled blackouts which took place in Kyrgyzstan in 2008.

Otunbaeva called the opening of the unit “historic”.

“The opening of the station is an event not only in terms of power generation, but for all people,” said the president.

In total, Kambar-Ata HPP-2 will consist of three generating units, each of which will have a capacity of 120 megawatts.

Leader of the Naryn Hyrdro Energy Structure, Zholdoshbek Zhetigenov, said in an interview with Kloop.kg, that the first unit did not immediately arrive at such power, operating at a 50-70 MW capacity to begin with.

He also said that the construction of the second and third units depends on the availability of financing and construction for Kambar-Ata HPP-1.

However, President Otunbaeva remains optimistic.

“The energy produced by a single unit can provide a single area, such as Issyk-Kul and Naryn [with power],” said Otunbayeva at the opening ceremony.

The president also promised that next year Kyrgyzstan will begin exporting electricity abroad, that construction of the other two units will not stop and that the project is being developed for power transmission lines into Afghanistan and Pakistan.

According to official figures, the construction of the first unit took 9 billion soms to complete.

Doubts on the Internet

Construction of Kambar-Ata-2 began in 1986 but was frozen following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Sixteen years later – under President Kurmanbek Bakiyev – the government resumed construction.

The original launch date of the first unit was announced on Dec. 22, 2009.

Today, among Internet users, there are many critics of the project. First and foremost, the utility and effectiveness of Kambar-Ata-2 has been called into question, given the absence of regulator Kambar-Ata-1.

“Where is the water for the three hydro generators of Kambar-Ata-2 to run at full capacity if the reservoir is so shallow? The still unfinished Kambar-Ata-1, will not be able to recharge Kambar-Ata-2,” writes user Tory on the popular Internet forum Diesel.

On the same forum, user Svyazist is sure that the launch on August 30 was a “bachelor”.

“Before that moment there was no information about the tests, the equipment, or anything in terms of preparation for the opening ceremony,” he writes.

An officer at the HEP station who wished to remain anonymous, confirmed to a Kloop.kg correspondent, that today’s launch was really a “bachelor”, and electricity is being generated.

“There is a verification system, instruments and equipment for operating and the generators are up and running,” he said.

The power station employee could not name a date when HEP will be operating at full capacity.

Author: Askar Erkebaev

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