In the Pamir region of south-east Tajikistan civil war left nearly a quarter of a million people in energy poverty. Diesel generators frequently failed in winter forcing schools, clinics and businesses to close. The natural environment also suffered as people used their forests as a source of wood for cooking and heating, leading to 70% deforestation. In addition, smoke exposure from cooking on open fires and rudimentary stoves damages respiratory health, with women and children most affected.
This project uses carbon finance to support a significant upgrade to the run-of-river Pamir Hydro Electric power station with the addition of two 7MW turbines contributing 94,000MWh to the grid. The hydro plant uses Tajikistan’s natural water resources to provide clean and reliable energy and by replacing the diesel fuelled generators, reduces carbon emissions. In addition to the positive climate change impacts, the upgrade is transforming lives, re-invigorating the local economy and restoring the natural landscape by reversing woodland depletion.
Now, for the first time in 15 years, the region’s homes, schools, businesses and clinics have uninterrupted power. Pamir Hydro’s output has increased to the extent that energy is also exported to 3,500 homes, never before connected to the grid, in neighbouring Afghanistan – with more exports planned in the future.
The stunning Pamir Mountains of south-east Tajikistan and northern Afghanistan are known collectively as the Roof of the World. Today, residents say that a “light is being shone on the roof of their world,” thanks to this complete overhaul of the electricity grid.
- Reliable, Clean Energy: Direct to 1/4 million people, many for the first time.
- Improved Health: Clinics operate around the clock and clean energy cuts exposure to toxic fumes that can lead to pneumonia and premature death.
- Climate Impact: Every year, 24,000 tonnes of carbon emissions are reduced by displacing diesel.
- Education: Schools stay open longer and internet access provides educational opportunities.
- Local Jobs: The plant has created 824 local positions. Throughout the region more business customers are coming on grid and bazaars and businesses are staying open 20% longer, fuelling start-ups and growth.
“It is impossible to imagine surgery without electricity. Until recently, in remote areas of Afghanistan, doctors could not imagine working with equipment that was only available in Kabul” recalls Doctor Hojifaiz, of Bashor Medical Centre. “Simple operations were impossible. Many, many people, especially children, died. Today we can diagnose with confidence and carry out effective treatment.”
Pamir Hydro’s technical and environmental studies were funded by the IFC, part of the World Bank. Inspired by the success of this clean energy project, the World Bank showcases it’s impact on one of Asia’s poorest regions.
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