Tajikistan depends on hydropower for about 98% of its electricity and during winter months about 70% of the population suffer from power outages. Additionally, Tajikistan’s hydropower plants depend on river basins that are fed by melted snow and glaciers. These sources of water are at risk as the climate warms and climate change models have predicted significant changes to precipitation patterns. The modernization and rehabilitation of Tajikistan’s Qairokkum Hydropower plant is jointly funded by the pilot program for climate resilience and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The implementation of this project sets an example for the region as the methodology incorporates climate change strategies not only into hydropower dam safety and training tools for staff, but also into investment and business planning. Implementing these strategies will move the Qairokkum Hydropower plant towards international best practice (the most modern hydropower plants are currently in Canada and Australia).
A comprehensive assessment of future climate change scenarios was used to make investment decisions. The scenarios used a range of global temperature shifts (+1.5°C to +4.0°C) up to year 2050. And for the time period leading up to 2080, a range of +2.0°C to +6.0°C was used. Both cases were accompanied by projected changes in precipitation. In each scenario, an accompanying technical option included which components of the hydropower plant needed to be replaced (e.g. turbines), in order to minimize risk. These were used to figure out investment options.
The most important impact is the transformational investment strategy used; experts were recruited to model future water flow in the hydropower plant, taking into account different climate change scenarios and the most resilient design was selected. In addition to hydropower plant design, climate change will also be incorporated into business and plant operations, with advanced training, information updating and sharing. This pilot project also demonstrates clearly how to enact climate resilient upgrades to an existing hydropower plant.
- World Bank
- Asian Development Bank
- European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)