Kyrgyzstan: New deals secures electricity from neighbors

President Almazbek Atambayev, after completing a tour of his neighboring countries in Central Asia, announced a deal on Tuesday with neighboring Kazakhstan that would supply some 1,400 kilowatt hours of electricity to power-starved Kyrgyzstan. Atambayev has been on a tour around Central Asia courting power agreements, and has been able to ink key agreements with Turkmenistan who has also promised to transport 1,000 kilowatt hours to Kyrgyzstan.

However, additional considerations abound. Atambayev has stated the next step to receive Turkmen power comes from Uzbekistan, the way station for any transportation between the two countries. Relations between the two countries are extremely strained due to an ongoing water dispute, which ironically is also the source of Kyrgyzstan’s current power outages. Hydroelectric dams outside of Bishkek have been suffering from much lower water levels, which the Uzbek government has blamed on Kyrgyz rationing. Additionally this limits irrigation for the crucial Uzbek cotton industry, which is its main source of revenue.

With water levels in Kyrgyzstan’s major reservoir down by 25% this year, Kyrgyzstan is facing a deficit this winter expected to total at around 2/5 billion kilowatt hours.

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