Improving Supply, Meeting Increased Energy Demand in Uzbekistan

April 18, 2017

If one day you make your way through Uzbekistan’s Qarshi Steppe on the way to the city of Samarkand, you may come across an extraordinary statue of a man pushing a huge stone block. According to legend, the man was a stonecutter in ancient times by the name of Farkhad, who managed to break through granite rock and open the way for the Syr Darya River to reach the drought-ridden Golodnaya Steppe. He did so, says the legend, in order to get water to people who were dying from thirst.

The legend of Farkhad is so closely associated with strength and power that, these days, statues commemorating him can be found at almost every power plant in Uzbekistan. And the World Bank-supported Talimarjan Thermal Power Plant is no exception.


“This unique plant is an endless source of stories,” says Akram Ergashev, an engineer who helped build the plant. “Construction started in 1982, in Kashkadarya region, with the aim of providing electricity not only to Uzbekistan, but also to neighboring countries – Tajikistan, the south of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Afghanistan. It is the only power plant in Central Asia that has a power generation unit with capacity of 800 MW.”

Over the past few decades, the population in the southwestern regions of Uzbekistan has grown rapidly, and with it the number of industrial consumers who receive power from the Talimarjan plant. Consequently, it was necessary to expand the plant’s capacity, increase power generation and transmission efficiency, and create conditions for power export.  

The Talimarjan Transmission Project included the addition of two new combined-cycle gas turbine units to generate more power (financed by ADB, JICA and local investments) and also construction of a new high-voltage power transmission line. These additions have reduced power transmission losses and increased power supply reliability. The number of electricity outages in the project area reduced from 92 hours to 24 hours per year, with voltage variation range reduced in half.

Today, over 4 million people in four southwestern regions of Uzbekistan, along with thousands of enterprises, enjoy a more reliable power supply. Robust operation of the plant and commissioning of new facilities will create opportunities to implement promising large and small business projects and further strengthen the country’s energy export potential.


“This is the first World Bank project in the energy sector of Uzbekistan,” says Sunil Khosla, Project Team Leader, listing all innovations of the project. “It is also the first project financed from IBRD funds and the first project that has applied international best-practices in bird protection. To help promote the use of renewable energy, the project developed a wind atlas for the entire country and assessed the country’s wind potential.”

Over the past few years, Uzbekistan has experienced high economic growth rates. As such, the country’s power needs are expected to almost double by 2030 and make up over 105 billion kW/h. Therefore, the use of new high-efficiency technologies in Uzbekistan – like those at the Talimarjan Thermal Power Plant – and renewable energy sources is critical in order to support economic growth and ensure energy development with a decreased carbon footprint.

Project details. The World Bank extended financing for the construction of a new substation at the Talimarjan plant, a 216 km 500-kV high-voltage transmission line from Talimarjan to Sogdiana substation, and an open switch-yard (OSY) at Talimarjan Thermal Power Plant. At this stage, the transmission line and OSY support the work of transmission line systems throughout the country. With the use of cost savings ($48.2 million) from International Competitive Bidding (ICB), the State Joint-Stock Company, Uzbekenergo, purchased extra transformers, as well as high- and medium-voltage equipment for the reconstruction of outdated substations throughout the country’s energy system.

Assessment of wind power potential.  According to the results of scientific modeling, Uzbekistan has substantial resources of wind power, with a technically feasible potential of over 520 GW. The regions with the highest wind potential are the mountainous area north-east of Tashkent, mountain ranges to the south and east of Samarkand, and mountain ranges between Jizzakh and Samarkand regions, followed by Navoiy region, and the Republic of Karakalpakstan.

Environmentally important bird protection measures. The transmission line crosses a migratory corridor of several types of migratory birds registered in the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Pandion Systems, Inc. studied the potential risks to birds migrating across the project area and suggested various risk mitigation measures implemented at the stage of transmission line construction. For the first time, bird protection measures were implemented in accordance with international standards such as horizontal location and appropriate distance between lines; the use of diverters to reduce the risk of bird collision with transmission lines, and deflectors (bird barriers) to prevent bird nesting on power transmission towers.