Asian Development Bank (ASX: ATB) aims to help improve the quality of life for rural residents in Tajikistan, especially during winter, by improving their electric supply services through a US$2 million grant.
The grant, from ADB's Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction, provided by the Government of Japan, will establish a community-based "run-of-river" micro-hydropower supply system in six poor communities in remote rural areas, with each system capable of supplying electricity to about 400 households.
Electricity supply in the country's remote rural areas is deteriorating. In addition, supply is low during the harsh winter season as about 95% of the country's internally generated electricity comes from hydropower from mountain streams, which have a lower flow during the winter months.
This leads households, particularly women and children, to resort to using fuelwood, animal dung, and kerosene for heating, cooking, and lighting, causing respiratory diseases and environmental damage.
"Because of the mountainous topography, micro-hydropower generation tends to be the least-cost way of providing additional electricity to remote communities," says Teruhisa Oi, an ADB Social Development Specialist. 'Run-of-river' hydropower is based on local resources and has minimal environmental impacts as it does not require a water reservoir, and hydropower has no air emissions.
The project will target ongoing ADB-financed road project areas. The beneficiary communities will be chosen based on their level of poverty as well as their commitment and involvement in the project.
A community-based organization in each project site will be incorporated and, with adequate training and support, will be tasked with operating the micro-hydropower plants and distributing electricity to households.
To promote energy efficiency, a household model introducing energy-saving bulbs and other extensively used appliances will also be established in each project site.
The Government and the beneficiary communities will contribute $398,970 equivalent toward the project's total estimated cost of $2,398,970. The Ministry of Energy is the executing agency for the project, which will be carried out over about 17 months.
JFPR was set up in 2000 with an initial contribution of Y10 billion (about $90 million), followed by additional contributions of $155 million and a commitment of $50 million.
About ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK: ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in the Asia and Pacific region through pro-poor sustainable economic growth, social development, and good governance. Established in 1966, it is owned by 64 members - 46 from the region.
In 2005, it approved loans and grants for projects totaling $6.95 billion, and technical assistance amounting to $198.8 million.