Kyrgystan launches new “game-changing” powerline

BISHKEK, AUG. 28 (The Bulletin) — Kyrgyzstan inaugurated a 450km-long electricity line that the government said would secure an independent power supply (Aug. 28).

Kyrgyz president Almazbek Atambayev called it a “historic event,” as it would release Kyrgyzstan from depending on neighbouring countries for the transit of its own power.

“Everyone knows that electricity from the Toktogul dam was transmitted through Uzbekistan. We have paid millions of US dollars for that,” President Atambayev said.

The Datka-Kemin power line links the south of the country to the north, avoiding Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.

The old Soviet-era power grid forced Kyrgyz-generated power in the south to enter the territory of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan before re-entering Kyrgyzstan. This added costs of around $9m, according to the latest estimates, without accounting for the loss of electricity from covering the extra distance.

“Thanks to Datka-Kemin PTL, Kyrgyzstan can annually save around $8-9m,” the Chairman of National Electric Network of Kyrgyzstan Bekbo Mamatbekov said in an interview for

Kyryzstan paid for the power line with a $390 loan from the Import-Export Bank of China. Construction took three years.

Over the past few months, the Kyrgyz government has been forced to increase electricity prices due to a regional economic downturn. The Datka-Kemin power line should reduce utility bills for the population.


>>This article was first published in issue 246 of the weekly Conway Bulletin, the leading independent newspaper for Central Asia and the South Caucasus

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