10.12.04 09:48

A FUTURE-ORIENTED PROJECT
TURKMENISTAN ENHANCES RELIABILITY OF ELECTRICITY SUPPLIES TO INDUSTRY AND POPULATION

President of Turkmenistan, who got a degree in power engineering and worked in the Bezmein power plant in his time, signed two documents the other day aimed at the further enhancement of reliability of supplying the republic and its capital with electricity.

The care that the Turkmen president takes of the power-engineering sector is noted for its consistency and singleness of purpose. This is proved by decisions taken by the president that are aimed into the future. We have informed our readers in detail about Turkmenistan's cooperation with the American General Electric that was one the first foreign companies in this field to come to the Turkmen market in the middle of 90th. At that time, the company upgraded the Abadan (formerly Bezmein) state power plant, building a gas turbine unit within the framework of its first contract with Turkmenistan. The same project was also implemented by General Electric at the Turkmenbashi complex of oil refineries.

Specialists of General Electric installed four new gas turbines at the Abadan and Balkanabat state power plants in the end of last year, dramatically increasing their power-engineering capacity.

Meanwhile, Turkmenistan has found one more partner quite recently, Russian Silovyie Mashiny company, to develop power engineering. Under a decree of the president of Turkmenistan, the Ministry of Power Engineering and Industry and public company Silovyie Mashiny (St Petersburg) signed a contract to upgrade one of eight turbines at the Mary state regional power plant. The works are due to start in December 2004 and to finish in October 2005. Supply of spare parts is part of the contract. The total cost of the contract is over US$13,3 mln.

It was not by accident that St Petersburg's company was chosen to upgrade the power units at the Mary state regional plant, the Ministry of Power Engineering and Industry said. All the eight turbines with a capacity of 210 megawatt each were produced at the Leningrad metal works and installed in 1973-1987. Some parts of power units have become obsolete over the long period of use, affecting the plant's power-engineering capacity. The public company Silovyie Mashiny offered to prepare a project on a stage-by-stage modernization of power units. The implementation of this project provides for increasing the performance of power units from 34 to 38%. The power engineering capacity will grow to 115 megawatt.

The power engineering capacity of the Mary state regional plant will rise to a total of 1800 megawatt due to the modernization of power units, which will make it possible to meet the country's annually growing needs in energy and honor export contracts. As is known, Afghanistan, Turkey and Iran are the consumers of Turkmen electricity.

Another document signed by the head of state is directly connected with ensuring the reliable supply of electricity to Ashgabat in the coming years and in the future. There will be built a Kopetdag substation with two gas turbine generators made by General Electric with a total capacity of 254 megawatt and a ring circuit of electricity lines around the city with a 220 kW voltage and 94 km long to meet the needs of the growing capital.

According to the Turkmen state news service (TDH), these facilities are being constructed within the investment project entitled "Establishment of the 874 km 220 kW Mary-Ashgabat-Balkanabat electricity transmission system" worth Manat 420 bln. Besides, the head of state allocated US$67 mln more to purchase necessary equipment. All these facilities are to be commissioned in October 2005, according to the decree of Turkmen president Saparmurat Niyazov.

Ashgabat is currently getting electricity from the Mary and Abadan state regional power plants. These power plants will remain the capita's the main sources of electricity in the future. The new energy bridge from Mary, the ring circuit of electricity line and the substation in the southern outskirts of the city, in the foothills of the Kopetdag, are intended to increase electricity supplies as well as create conditions for uninterrupted work of the power system of the emerging mega city.

According to specialists' estimations, electricity consumption in Ashgabat will rise approximately by 30% to almost 700 megawatt by the end of 2007. The modernization of the system of electricity supplies to the capital will help not only meet this growth but also set up a "margin of safety" for the many years ahead. Today, the system of provision of the city with electricity is, unfortunately, to be desired: failures and voltage jumps in the system that happen quite often are justly criticized by people and the head of state. This comes as the result of the increase in electricity consumption in recent years, obsolete equipment and electricity lines. But the situation will absolutely change in one year. The modern system of electricity supplies will be in accordance with the highest international standards.

Sergei MINGAZOV

(Based on reports of Turkmen mass media