Tajikistan (2012)

Source: REEEP Policy Database (contributed by SERN for REEEP)

This policy & regulatory overview is not updated anymore since 2015. We decided to keep it online due to high demand but would like to make you aware of the fact that it might be outdated.

Energy sources

The combined impact of population growth, the decapitalization of the energy infrastructure, interruptions in gas imports from Uzbekistan, and the dissolution of the regional electricity transmission network has had a dramatic impact on the energy sector of Tajikistan. This was particularly apparent during the winter of 2007-2008, when unusually cold weather brought the energy sector to the brink of collapse. The international financial crisis and rising food prices completed the picture (which some experts call a compound crisis), the most pronounced adverse effects of which were felt by the poor and vulnerable. The poor, who in 2007 constituted more than half of the population, suffered most from the power cuts, lack of heating, reductions in remittances, and increasing food prices. 

Official data indicate that electricity consumption dropped some 8% during 2007-2009, before growing slightly in 2010. Meanwhile, the annual increases in household electricity tariffs during 2007-2010 averaged 57%; energy price inflation averaged 42% annually.

The latest available data for Tajikistan’s total primary energy supply (TPES) are from 2008. During 2005-2008 the share of hydropower rose from 42% to 56%, at the expense of oil. This diminishing role of oil (22%) and gas (18%) accelerated in 2009-2010 due to rising prices of gas imported from Uzbekistan, as well as the further growth in the role of hydropower.  Coal supply was only 4% in 2008.

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Official data indicate that Tajikistan’s electricity imports and exports dropped sharply in late 2009, after the dissolution of the integrated Central Asian electricity transmission system. This does not bode well for Tajikistan’s ability to import electricity going forward—especially from (or via) Uzbekistan, which held up millions of dollars worth of Tajikistan’s imports over the course of 2010. It is telling that, despite the addition of significant additional capacity for power generation (from Sangtuda-1) and transmission (from the south-north power line), an unexpected cold snap led to the reintroduction of nation-wide electricity rationing in March 2011. Increased electricity imports were not an option.

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Extend network

Barqi Tojik data indicates that, despite comprising nearly three quarters of the country’s population, rural households during 2008- 2010 accounted for only 8%-11% of Tajikistan’s total electricity consumption. It is estimated that over 1 million residents (primarily in rural areas) have little or no access to adequate electricity/energy supplies—particularly during the winter, when it is common to have spells of more than six weeks without any electricity.

The absence of reliable electricity supplies means reduced access to health, education, and other public and social services in rural areas; it also constrains business formation and development. Perhaps most importantly, the absence of reliable electricity supplies in rural areas means the absence of income- and employment-generation opportunities for vulnerable households—for many of which, migration has become the dominant coping mechanism.

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Capacity concerns

The energy sector is still in crisis however, with winter power cuts (up to 10-12 hours a day) continuing in much of the country. The dissolution of the Central Asian electricity transmission network, limited and increasingly expensive gas supplies from Uzbekistan, and an underdeveloped coal sector have left Tajikistan almost solely reliant on hydropower generation, which remains insufficient in the winter. An estimated one million people spend much of the winter (six weeks more) without access to reliable electricity supplies. Despite accounting for nearly three quarters of the total population, households in rural areas during 2008-2010 only accounted for 8%- 11% of the country’s electricity consumption.

Improving national and household energy security requires the investment of billions of dollars in electricity generation (including in small-scale hydropower plants), transmission, and distribution, in the gas supply network, and in the coal sector. Unless significant foreign capital inflows are attracted, Tajikistan’s energy investment needs are unlikely to be met. The public debt is approaching levels regarded by the IMF as “inadvisable”, due in part to the construction of the Roghun hydropower plant.

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Renewable energy

Tajikistan’s economically feasible hydropower potential is estimated to be 264 billion kWh per year, of which only about 6% has been harnessed so far.

On the basis of research covering 530 large and small rivers with a total length of 14,316 kilometres, Tajikistani specialists have concluded that the exploitation of only 10% of the hydroelectricity potential of small rivers in middle and high mountainous zones would allow for power supply for up to 70% of the settlements and agricultural entities. In particular, they estimate that in the Rasht area alone more than 100 small hydropower plants could be built.

Exclusive reliance on small scale hydropower plants is unlikely to be sufficient to provide the electricity needed for rural residents to consume electricity on par with the urban residents; nor can it by itself allow for significant developments of rural industry. Still, small hydro clearly represents a viable economic and technological option for many households in remote, isolated locations. Its utilization can be scaled up in a matter of few years with minimal up-front costs, provided certain policy and hydrological conditions are met.

The estimated potential for solar power is about 25 billion kWh/year in Tajikistan. It is also estimated that the utilization of available solar energy in Tajikistan could satisfy as much as 10%-20% of national energy demand (note that the estimate was in the light of the tariffs prevailing in 2007). Local experts estimate that the climatic conditions of Tajikistan are favourable for using solar energy, especially in mountain territories, and in East Pamir in particular, where hydropower potential is limited. The majority of this solar potential is not exploited; there is no industrial solar energy capacity in Tajikistan. There is some use of solar resource for water heating purposes; this could be developed further. Small-scale photovoltaic technologies (primarily for public building) could also be introduced, particularly in very remote areas with low population densities where grid reinforcement or new connections seem infeasible.

Wind power potential in Tajikistan remains largely un-researched. Local experts believe that wind energy can be commercially viable in certain regions, where the average annual wind speed is around 5-6 meters/second (such as Fedchenko and Anzob, territory around the Sarez Lake in Gorno Badakhshan).  Four wind power plants were under construction by Barqi Tojik in 2010.

It is estimated that Tajikistan has the potential to produce around 2 billion kWh/year of electricity from biomass sources. Currently around three quarters of the population use biomass in their housekeeping.  In the countryside, where there is no access to natural gas, biogas technologies could be very promising. According to experts, the wide introduction of biogas technologies using animal or agricultural and household wastes could reduce annual methane emissions 5-8 thousand tons. The most promising option of biomass utilisation is biogas generation by means of anaerobic fermentation of manure. A few experimental biogas generators currently operate in Tajikistan.

Opportunities to produce energy via thermochemical conversion of cotton residues may also be present. In 2008 some 253,000 hectares of cotton were planted. Each hectare generated around 100,000 cotton plants, the stalks of which are used for winter heating in rural areas.

Tajikistan’s geothermal resources are small and poorly studied. Data about using thermal waters are generally absent, although the development of thermal water in vicinity of Khodja-Obi-Garm is anticipated. It is estimated that Tajikistan could produce 45 billion kWh annually using geothermal energy sources.

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Energy efficiency

Energy intensity in Tajikistan is almost twice the world average, and three times higher than most developed countries, which means that Tajikistan needs three times more energy to produce one unit of GDP then highly developed countries. Energy efficiency potential in Tajikistan is assessed by the Ministry of Energy and Industry at 30% of current power consumption.  Some estimates put potential savings much higher; recent UNDP research has found that houses in rural areas lose 50%-60% of the heat generated.

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In addition to directly accounting for 5% of Tajikistan’s GDP, electricity generation is a key input for the production of the country’s two largest exports—aluminium and cotton, and is essential for the electric pumps that are mainstays of Tajikistan’s irrigated agriculture. Barqi Tojik is responsible for generation, transmission, and distribution in the whole of Tajikistan, except in the Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (where privately owned Pamir Energy operates most power facilities) and the small hydro facilities.

Petroleum and Gas
Gas demand, which amounts to less than 1 bcm per year, is covered predominantly (98%) by imports from Uzbekistan. Imported gas transportation and distribution are handled by the state-owned monopoly, Tajiktransgaz OJSC. The remaining 2% of gas demand is met by Tajikistan’s own resources.

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While some reforms have taken place in Tajikistan’s energy sector, overall progress has been slow. The main electricity company (Barqi Tojik) is a vertically integrated state owned monopoly, which suffers from high losses, low tariff collection rates and high arrears. Barqi Tojik’s first restructuring plan was developed in May 2006, within the framework of the Asian Development Bank´s (ADB) technical assistance programme. It recommended Barqi Tojik’s unbundling in three phases. Submitted by the government in 2009, Barqi Tojik’s three-phase restructuring is  as follows:

  • Phase 1 (2009-2012) focuses on improving corporate governance and financial management.
  • Phase 2 (2013-2015) envisions—if deemed appropriate—Barqi Tojik’s dissolution into (or divestiture of) separate, legally independent state-owned enterprises for generation, transmission, and distribution.
  • Phase 3 (2016-2018): the government will evaluate the results of the first two phases and consider privatizing generation and distribution assets. The transmission network will remain under state ownership; equal access to the grid will be offered to all players.
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Energy framework

The following legislative acts define the legislative framework of the energy sector (including the electricity sector).

The Law of the Republic of Tajikistan “On Energy”
The legislative framework of the energy sector was introduced with the Law of the RT “On Energy” №123 on 10 November 2000. This Law determined that “all entities in the energy sector are allowed to function under the different ownership forms (state, private, public, mixed and joint).”

However, the law keeps the Government of or other delegated government agencies as the principal agencies to manage the energy sector. Along with that, this Law addresses the specifics of how the energy sector functions, which includes: monitoring activities of energy companies, protecting their property and consumer rights protection, determining tariff setting policies in the energy sector, and establishing the authority of the Government of the RT to approve concession agreements on energy facilities, including offering concessions to foreign investors. A new version of this law, initiated by the Government, was accepted with modifications and additions on 30 May 2007.

The Law of the Republic of Tajikistan “On Energy Conservation”
The Law of the RT “On Energy saving” №524 dated 06 February 2002 regulates activities of legal entities and individuals in the energy saving area to raise the efficiency of energy consumption. The goal of this Law is to provide a legislative framework for government policy in the energy conservation while taking into consideration the interests of consumers, energy suppliers and producers. It also aims to stimulate scientific work, and introduce energy efficient technologies and information mechanisms to increase energy efficiency.

The following legislative acts determine other aspects of the energy sector:

The Law of the Republic of Tajikistan “On privatization of state property”
The Law, with amendments and additions of 2002 and 26 March 2009, stipulates that the property of the hydroelectric plants “Nurek”, “Rogun” and the State unitary enterprise “Tajik Aluminum Company” is not subject to privatization (Article 9).

Tax Code of the Republic of Tajikistan
Part 53 of the Tax code of the RT dated 03 December 2004 determines a “royalty on water.” The use of hydro resources to produce electric energy at hydropower plants is subject to a royalty. The use of hydro resources for energy production is exempt from a royalty if capacity of energy generating facilities does not exceed 1,000 kW.

The Order of the President of the RT “On additional measures for efficient energy use and energy saving” dated 24 April 2009
Some of the special orders of the President of Tajikistan have a regulatory status.

Complex Programme on Alternative Energy Sources
Complex Programme on Alternative Energy Sources such as small rivers, solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal energy for 2007–2015 (2007), which is divided into three phases:

  • Phase 1 (2007–2009): Compiling a cadastre of alternative energy sources; assessing the potential effectiveness of various technologies, taking into account Tajikistan’s geo-climatic conditions; and developing new renewable energy technologies;
  • Phase 2 (2010–2012): Introducing pilot programmes to test the effectiveness of renewable energy technologies; establishing an industrial base for production; training and capacity building; and
  • Phase 3 (2013–2015): Production of equipment for alternative energy generation.
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Energy debates

According to Tajik officials, the power shortage problem will be permanently solved after the construction of two hydropower stations: the Sangtuda-2 hydropower station and the first generating line of the Rogun hydropower plant. Tajikistan currently also aims to complete the construction of the massive Rogun dam, which was first started during the Soviet era. The Rogun hydropower plant is estimated to start generating electricity in 2013.

However, Uzbekistan has strong reservations about the Rogun hydropower project because it fears the dam will disrupt the water supplies needed for the country’s large cotton sector.  Uzbekistan has also expressed similar concerns over Kyrgyzstan’s hydropower projects Kambarata-1 and Kambarata-2, saying that they will reduce the amount of water it receives. Indeed, the use of shared water resources is increasingly creating tensions in Central Asia, adding to already unsettled situation in the region.

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Energy studies

Tajikistan is partner of The Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program.  CAREC is a partnership of 10 countries and 6 multilateral institutions working to promote development through cooperation, leading to accelerated economic growth and poverty reduction. By promoting and facilitating regional cooperation in the priority areas of transport, trade facilitation, trade policy, and energy.  CAREC efforts on energy have three pillars:

  • energy demand–supply balance and infrastructure constraints;
  • regional dispatch and regulatory development;
  • and analysis of energy–water linkages.
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Role of government

Ministry of Energy (MEI)
MEI is the public authority managing the fuel and energy sector. It is the primary government body responsible for the development and implementation of energy policy. The Minister of Energy and Industry is appointed and dismissed by the President of the Republic, also acting as Chairperson of the Government.

Ministry of Economic Development and Trade (MEDT)
With respect to the energy sector, regulation is the responsibility of the MEDT.

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Energy procedure

29 small hydropower plants are currently under construction, and will in turn add another 11.6 thousand megawatts of installed capacity when they are built.

  • UNDP - Promotion of Renewable and Sustainable Energy Use for Development of Rural Communities in Tajikistan
  • Implementation of the project  Development of Regional Electricity Market   
  • Investment Project Sangtuda 2
  • Restoration of the energy sector in 1, 2 phases
  • Restoration and Rebuilding of Nurek HPP
  • Construction of HV line 220 KWt Loladzor-ob-Mazor and substation
  • Power Loss Reduction Project

Asian Development Bank (ADB)

  • Dushokhzamin plant in the Nurobod district
  • Kalandak plant in the Rasht district

The IDB funded the construction of eight small power plants in rural areas of Tajikistan. The loan of USD  9.3 million provided by the IDB will support the construction of another five small hydropower stations in the rural area of Tajikistan

  • 2750 KW Marzich station (Ayni district in Sughd)
  • 667 KW Sangikor station in the Rasht district (northeast)
  • 600 KW Fathobod station in Tojikobod (northeast of Tajikistan)
  • 850 KW Pitavkul station in Jirgatol (northeast of Tajikistan)
  • 100 KW Shahboloi station in Nourobod (eastern Tajikistan)

The Government allocated US$ 2.4 million to utility company “Barqi Tojik” for construction of following small hydropower plants:

  • 360 KW Khorma station in Baljuvon (Khatlon)
  • 500 KW Toj station in Shahrinav (central Tajikistan)
  • 700 KW Shirkent station in Tursunzoda (central Tajikistan)


  • 30 KW Doshtmandi, Baljuvan district
  • 40 KW Yol, Shuroobod district
  • 10 KW Hissorak Shuroobod district
  • 10 KW Safedob Shuroobod district
  • 100 KW Nurofar, Vahdat district
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Energy regulator

Ministry of Economic Development and Trade (MEDT)
With respect to the energy sector, regulation is the responsibility of the MEDT, which includes a dedicated department to which energy functions were transferred from the State Agency on Antimonopoly Policy and Entrepreneurship Support pursuant to the President’s Decree of 30 November 2006.

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Degree of independence

There is not a regulatory agency in Tajikistan.

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Regulatory framework

Some of the basic legislation and strategic programming frameworks needed to promote the development of decentralized renewables in Tajikistan have been put in place. These include the:

  • Law on power sources for small enterprises in mining and coal conversion (1992);
  • Law on alternative energy sources (2010);
  • Orders of the Presidium of the Supreme Council (No. 1350) on “Redemption of tax payments for small hydro power plants and producers of alternative energy sources” (1992), and (No. 267) on the development of small power engineering (1997);
  • Concept for the Development of Small Scale Hydropower (2009);

In December 2010, two important developments occurred that have the potential to accelerate the development of the appropriate regulatory environment for RES. These include the approval by the Ministry of Energy and Industry of:

  • a methodology for calculating tariffs for electricity generated by independent power producers (including those using small hydro and other renewable technologies) who are connected to Barqi Tojik’s grid (Decree No.131); and
  • a basic model contract for power purchase agreements between Barqi Tojik and independent power producers (Decree No.112).
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Regulatory roles

The MEDT is responsible for the following in the energy sector: tariff methodology, tariff level proposals, service quality, consumer complaints and anti-competitive behaviour. MEI is responsible for: licensing, approval of investment plans and technical and safety standards. Final approval and amendment of tariffs for end-users is within the competency of the President.

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Energy regulation role

The process of regulating the electricity sector is divided, in both law and practice, between various agencies. These agencies are the Government, Parliament, Ministry of Energy and Industry, and Ministry of Economic Development and Trade. Clear jurisdiction must define the range of functions entrusted to the regulatory bodies and whether the functions are clearly defined in applicable laws. However, the only law that regulates the electricity sector, the Law of RT “On Energy” describes legal authority given to the regulatory bodies without clearly defining its jurisdiction. The Ministry Acts are also very general in nature; they do not clearly define the way the ministries are related to the electricity sector because this sector is not considered as a separate activity. The Law of the RT “On natural monopolies” indirectly relates the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade to the regulatory body, but it does not clearly define the way the ministry can regulate the sector either.

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Regulatory barriers

As long as Barqi Tojik manages most of Tajikistan’s power generation assets and the country’s transmission grid, its incentives for providing rival power producers with access to the grid may be weak. (The same applies to Pamir Energy in Gorno Badakhshan). According to the changes in the Energy Law that was made in February 2009, Barqi Tojik is now obligated to buy electricity from (mostly small-scale) IPPs. However, since the actual tariffs must be agreed between the RES company and Barqi Tojik (or Pamir Energy), developers of decentralized RE projects continue to face considerable regulatory uncertainty about their viability.

The potential of RE technologies to address Tajikistan’s national and household energy insecurities is now widely recognized. Likewise, funding from donors and government sources for decentralized renewables is increasingly available. However, mechanisms to attract and transparently manage these resources remain under-developed. UNDP’s proposed National Trust Fund for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency could provide an important missing piece of the institutional development puzzle.

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