In the years 2028-2029, Central Asia is expected to face a consistent and sustainable deficit of fresh water, estimated at approximately 5-12 cubic kilometers. At the same time, in the next 10 years, the region anticipates a substantial increase in its demand for electricity. These were the key points highlighted by Nikolai Podguzov, Chairman of the Board of the Eurasian Development Bank (EDB), during the World Hydropower Congress held in Bali.
Given this situation, hydropower plays a pivotal role in Central Asia, not only as a source of electricity production but also in the management of river resources for irrigation purposes. As a result, countries in the region are actively developing their water resources and attracting investments for the modernization of existing and the construction of new hydroelectric power stations, as well as improving irrigation systems.
The construction of new hydroelectric power stations and the modernization of existing ones will not only help mitigate the impact of climate change but also contribute to the economic and social development of the region, which heavily relies on accessible and environmentally friendly energy and reliable water supply for irrigation systems. This development of the region’s significant hydropower potential will strengthen its energy and food security while helping these countries fulfill their commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the Paris Agreement.
Central Asia is estimated to be utilizing only a fraction of its hydropower potential at present. Currently, the region boasts over 80 hydroelectric power stations with a total installed capacity of around 14,000 MW. Over the next 15 years, there are plans to increase this capacity by 8900 MW through the modernization of existing facilities and the construction of new hydroelectric power stations. Notable projects include the construction of the 1860 MW Kambaratinskaya HPP-1 in Kyrgyzstan and the 3600 MW Rogun HPP in Tajikistan, which boasts the world’s tallest dam at 335 meters in height.
The Eurasian Development Bank (EDB) is planning to invest over $400 million in the development of Central Asia’s water and energy complex over the next three years. In the current year, the bank has already initiated the financing of the 100 MW Kulunakskaya HPP in Kyrgyzstan and is in discussions regarding the funding of other hydroelectric power projects, including the Kambaratinskaya HPP-1 and Rogun HPP, the largest hydroelectric power stations in Central Asia.