Pamir Energy intends to spend the Ashden Award prize money for construction of a small hydropower plant in the Bartang Valley, Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO).

Under agreement with the Board of Directors, the company has decided to spend the Ashden Award prize money (£20,000) for construction of a small hydropower plant with capacity of 100 kW in the Roshorv village, Bartang Valley, according to press release issued by Pamir Energy.

A total cost of the project is 324,000 U.S. dollars and the company plans to attract the remaining 274,000 U.S. dollars in close cooperation with potential donors.  The power plant will provide with electricity 164 households (nearly 1,200 people) in the Roshorv village. 

Recall, Pamir Energy has won the 2017 International Ashden Award for Increasing Energy Access for its work bringing hydro power to 220,000 people in southeastern Tajikistan and 35,000 people in northern Afghanistan, as well as to many businesses, schools, and health centers.

The Ashden Awards are a globally recognized measure of excellence in the field of sustainable energy. International winners receive £20,000 in prize money as well as a tailored package of business support to scale up their work.

According to the Ashden judges: “Pamir Energy’s approach to providing hydro power to a whole population in a remote mountainous area is highly replicable and could apply to other hard to reach mountainous parts of the world.  By tackling the full range of energy needs and effective distribution the company is bringing about a massive step change in the lives of local residents.”

Pamir Energy received its Ashden Award on June 15, 2017 at a prestigious ceremony at the Royal Geographical Society in London.    

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and a five-year civil war, Tajikistan’s electrical infrastructure required major investment.  Among the most affected areas was the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region (GBAO), where people and economic development suffered during the cold winter months.

The Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED), in partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), formed the Pamir Energy Company in 2002 to address the situation.  Fifteen years ago only 13% of households in the region had reliable energy.

Pamir Energy is a joint project of the Government of Tajikistan, AKFED, IFC, and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).  A total cost of the project is some 26.5 million U.S. dollars, including the Tajik government’s contribution of 10 million U.S. dollars.

The project was designed as a public-private partnership between the Government of Tajikistan, the World Bank Group, and the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development.

The company has a 25 year concession on the assets formerly under the management on Barqi Tojik (Tajik electricity supplier) in GBAO.  In exchange for this concession (management right), Pamir Energy has invested in completing the Pamir hydropower station, rehabilitating power generation, transmission and distribution assets, and improving the management of the company.

The Pamir Private Power Project has helped to enhance development and improve welfare in GBAO by providing reliable, affordable, and clean electricity.

Since 2002, Pamir Energy has restored 11 micro hydro power plants and upgraded 4,300km of transmission lines, as well as distribution facilities.  During critical phases of the project, the Swiss government, through the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), provided vital support through an innovative customer support scheme and the provision of technology that ensured affordable access for the poorest households in GBAO.

Today, 96% of households in GBAO, some 220,000 people, have access to clean, reliable and affordable energy.  In 2008, the company began exporting energy across the Panj River to communities in northern Afghanistan – some receiving electricity for the first time in their history.  Currently, 35,000 Afghans are connected.  The company plans to reach thousands more customers in Afghanistan in the coming years and to expand its operations to Northern Pakistan by 2025.