The state visit of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev to the Kyrgyz Republic, which took place on January 26-27 this year, will undoubtedly go down in the history of bilateral relations.
Following the summit, the parties brought relations to the level of a comprehensive strategic partnership. 25 documents were signed, including a protocol on the exchange of instruments of ratification of an agreement on certain sections of the Uzbekistan – Kyrgyzstan state border, the Intergovernmental Program for Strategic Trade and Economic Partnership for 2023-2025, and others.
In my opinion, one of the key events of the visit was the achievement of an agreement on the construction of the Kambarata HPP-1. In particular, on the eve of the meeting of the heads of state, an investment agreement was signed between Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. Earlier on January 6 this year, in Bishkek, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan signed a roadmap for the implementation of the project. The construction of a dam with a height of 256 m and a reservoir with a capacity of 5.4 billion cubic meters is envisaged. The HPP is expected to generate 5.6 billion kWh of electricity per year.
This is a flagship project not only for the countries involved, but for the entire region as a whole. Its successful implementation will lay the foundation for the sustainable development of Central Asia by ensuring the economic, energy and food security of the entire region.
A characteristic feature of the HPP – it is the first of its kind joint mega-project in the recent history of the region with the participation of three countries. The parties are joining forces to use the powerful hydropower potential of Central Asia, which is 930 billion kWh a year. At the same time, despite the measures taken, to date, it has been mastered by only 11%.
Of course, the implementation of the Kambarata HPP-1 is becoming increasingly important against the backdrop of a steady increase in Central Asia’s demand for cheap and environmentally friendly energy. This is due to the dynamic growth of the economy and population, the deepening of industrial cooperation in the region.
It is expected that by 2030 electricity consumption in Kazakhstan will be 136 billion kWh (an increase of 21% compared to 2020), in Uzbekistan – 120.8 billion kWh (an increase of 1.7 times), in Kyrgyzstan – more than 20 billion kWh (growth by 50%).
In this vein, the planned HPP will ensure the creation of additional generating capacities that can be integrated into a single energy ring of Central Asia. This will increase the reliability of providing the domestic regional market with cheap electricity. Thus, one more step will be taken toward the formation of a common energy market.
Moreover, the released energy resources can be supplied to the markets of third countries. It is expected that the commissioning of the Kambarata HPP-1 will make it possible to export energy worth $234 million annually.
Last but not least, the implementation of the project will become an important factor in ensuring food security in Central Asia. Irrigation needs will be met through more efficient management of the water resources of the Norin River. This is particularly relevant in summer, when there is a shortage of water due to high temperatures.
Moreover, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan have recently been developing agro-industrial cooperation. Today, both countries are taking measures to implement joint projects for the cultivation of fruits and vegetables, the supply of cattle, and others. The implementation of the project will play an important role not only in providing irrigated lands with water, but also in the uninterrupted supply of industrial facilities with electricity.