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26-10-2011, 18:32

Rogun built with neighbors, or without, - Struan Stevenson

Avesta.Tj | 26.10.2011 | Member of the European Parliament Struan Stevenson, best known for his positive assessment of Rogun project has once again shared his opinion on the issue of Rogun in Tajikistan. According to the information department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan, in particular, Stephenson in his article "Hydroelectric power plants do not destroy the water writes:


As we approach the end of 2011, media attention around the Rogun dam in Tajikistan are beginning to grow. This is primarily due to the fact that the World Bank in early 2012 intended to publish the results of examination of the safety of the dam. The report will assess the economic, social and environment-related aspects of the project and the conclusions that can increase associated with this project, the tension in the region, especially Uzbekistan. Uzbeks are ardent opponents of the dam, as they have a fear about the vulnerability of dams during seismic activity and Uzbek President Islam Karimov has expressed concern that the dam will result in further to the already existing shortage in the supply of water, the agricultural sector in his country.


I have personally visited, as Rogun complex, and its neighbor the Nurek Dam. I believe that both projects are safe and are very important in a regional sense. As I stated before, I am pleased that the final decision on whether to build Rogun remains for the World Bank experts, but regional and international players need to recognize that with or without neighbors or downstream of Rogun and other similar dams are being built and they probably will be constructed.


The term "regional cooperation" has been abused in Central Asia. Its so much passed from mouth to mouth, that he turned into nothing more than an obsolete and useless cliche.But there is no reason why a project like Rogun can not be win-win option for both Tajikistan and Uzbekistan to - downstream countries. Of course, the dam of Rogun will use water and its content will need 13 billion m3 of water. But skeptics quickly forget that hydroelectric power is not actually consume the water.


The basic principle of hydropower is that water from a certain height level with the pipe is fed to a lower level, thus obtaining greater speed and as a result of water pressure driven mechanical components of the unit, which converts the potential energy of water into electricity. This process uses water, not destroy it. This is a very efficient and very clean source of energy, which allows you to use water for other purposes. Every 600 kWh of electricity equal 1st barrel of oil (if 38% of the efficiency of oil used to generate electricity).


After the commissioning of six turbines with a total capacity of 3600 MW Rogun will produce 13.3 billion kWh of electricity per year. If the construction of hydropower plants will be built properly, its service life will be long lasting and stable, and the availability of electricity will be predictable and the cost of its content will be low.


Of course, hydropower is a technology-specific and river flows are seasonal changes, but given the close attention to renewable energy sources and take into account the fact that the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (RIO +20) will be approximately at the same time, when the World Bank will publish its report on Rogun, it seems odd that people so quickly abandon hydroelectric projects that will produce clean energy for much of the underdeveloped region.


Critics often argue that the completion of the Rogun Tajikistan will provide "control over the river." "The River" as the river Vakhsh, which eventually connects with the river Panj, to form the Amu Darya river, to its confluence with Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, and subsequently provides the southern part of the Aral Sea water. Along with the projects and Sangtuda Nurek dam (the first of which was officially opened in September), when all three phases of the project will be completed Rogun, it will certainly have a short-term impact on the supply air stream Vakhsh, which provides 25 percent of the total flow of the Amu Darya.


But the question arises whether a complete Rogun, a threat to water sources of downstream? Use of resources in the upper state is not necessarily intended to deduct the benefit of consumers downstream.


With respect to hydropower states upstream and downstream countries of agriculture there is a possible win-win situation, and it will take place if the water discharge will be carried out when both players are using it. But for that to happen, the parties must establish communication and cooperation in this regard.


Tajikistan, but the water has no other resource-rich. Most of the country is impassable, uninhabited mountains, and in addition to that Tajikistan is still in the recovery process after a bloody civil war. With the completion of Rogun Tajikistan will ensure its energy security for many years and this means that the country will pay attention to other issues such as improving the protection of human rights and the further strengthening of democracy in the country. Completion of construction of the Rogun dam would also mean that a clean hydropower can be exported to the neighbors and give them the opportunity to receive financial benefit from the export of its own hydrocarbon resources. If the Central Asian states would be willing to cooperate, there is no reason why not to Tajikistan facilitated timely delivery of water for agriculture downstream countries. Rogun can also ensure that the water will be available to downstream countries, even in times of drought.


But in this way not only to Uzbekistan, as well as other coastal states should seize Rogun.Proximity to Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Iran and Pakistan makes it the best in the global struggle against extremism and drug trafficking. Tajikistan is a strategically important partner for the West. It plays a key role in ensuring stability in this troubled region. In addition to providing energy independence Rogun, Tajikistan will be able to export electricity to neighboring countries. A line of 500 kW. That is already built between Tajikistan and neighboring Afghanistan, may contribute to the international force to restore peace and destroyed the economy of Afghanistan. Also, there is no obstacle to electricity exported to Pakistan, where its lack is noticeable.


Rather than alleviate the position of the doubters of the Western countries must convince them that the completion of the Rogun will all be profitable. Energy security throughout the region will facilitate the creation of new jobs and opportunities, as well as rapid economic growth in these conflict situations. After years of strife Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have to realize that cooperation and convergence may terminate the benefit of all, because originally hydroelectric power does not destroy the water, but only uses its energy.


Much of the north-western region of Tajikistan is now dependent on electricity from Uzbekistan because of a network of power lines.


In the new millennium trade in electricity was not in favor of Tajikistan - it imports 64979.339 kWh, while exports 113,163.057 kWh. But with the completion of the erection of the dam Rogun Tajik authorities are confident that they will not only cater for 100% of their electricity needs, but also to export electricity to neighboring countries, including China, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and perhaps even India. Tajikistan could provide electricity to Uzbekistan even if an agreement could be reached would be. But since gaining independence, Uzbekistan remains committed to its policy of energy self-sufficiency.


In addition, the Tajik authorities are hoping to expand the network of power lines to provide electricity to the Northwest Territory. In this direction has already begun exploring the possibility of building power lines north-south Kyrgyzstan, which will mean that Tajikistan does not require existing power lines that come with the territory of Uzbekistan.

All these arguments point to the fact that water is needed and must be operated in Central Asia.


Struan Stevenson - Member of European Parliament, member of the Conservative group in the European Parliament, the President of the Inter-Parliamentary Group of the European Parliament on climate change, biodiversity and sustainable development in the past year was the personal representative of OSCE Chairman-in (Kazakhstan) on ecology and environment in Central Asia.