DUSHANBE, September 5, 2011, Asia-Plus -- Tajik President Emomali Rahmon and his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have participated in the inauguration of the Iranian-built Sangtuda-2 hydroelectric power plant (HPP) project on the Vakhsh River.

The first unit of the Sangtuda-2 HPP was introduced into operation on September 5 in the presence of Tajik President Emomali Rahmon and his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

During the ceremony, President Rahmon said that inauguration of the project was a logical continuation of one of strategic goals of Tajikistan – providing energy independence of the country.

Tajik leader ordered the Ministry of Energy and Industries of Tajikistan and the project contractor to take all necessary measures to make the Sangtuda-2 second unit operational as soon as possible.  

“Making the Sangtuda-2 hydropower dam operational concurrent with the 20th anniversary of Tajikistan’s Independence is an inestimable gift by the builders to the Tajik people,” Rahmon noted.

“900 builders, with more than 580 of them being Tajik nationals, are involved in the construction of the plant,” said Rahmon.  Once the second unit of the Sangtuda-2 plant is operational, Tajikistan will increase annual electricity generation by 1 billion kWh.”

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, for his part, expressed hope that the second unit of the Sangtuda-2 HPP would be made operational until the end of current year.

We will recall that Tajik President Emomali Rahmon and Iranian Energy Minister Majid Namjou on November 28, 2010 pressed buttons that detonated explosives, blocking the Vakhsh River for construction of the dam.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Emomali Rahmon promised at the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) summit in Istanbul in December 2010 that the first turbine at Sangtuda-2 will begin producing electricity in 2011.

Construction of Sangtuda-2, a 220-megawatt plant on the Vakhsh River, officially commenced in February 2006.  It is located some 120 kilometers southeast of Dushanbe.  Iran has invested US$180 million and Tajikistan US$40 million in the project.  Once the power station is built, all the revenue over the next 12.5 years will go to the investor and Tajikistan will become the owner of Sangtuda-2 after this period expires.