EU Plans Investment In World's Tallest Dam In Tajikistan
The European Union intends to become the world's largest investor in Tajikistan's tallest dam, according to EU officials, in a move aimed at reducing Central Asia's reliance on Russian energy and as part of the EU's response to China's Belt and Road Initiative, Francesco Guarascio and Nazarali Pirnazarov reported for Reuters.
Photo Insert: Rogun is estimated to cost roughly $8 billion, with $3 billion already spent.
Tajikistan began construction on the massive hydroelectric Rogun facility in 2016, which will provide the landlocked former Soviet Union nation with complete energy independence.
The European Investment Bank (EIB), the EU's investment arm, has so far not supported the project, whose major developer is the Italian construction firm Webuild. However, an EIB official told Reuters this week that the European Commission has now asked the bank to become "the largest investor" in the project, as Olzhas Auyezov also reported for Reuters.
Rogun is estimated to cost roughly $8 billion, with $3 billion already spent, according to Tajik energy minister Dalyor Juma in June.
Previously financed primarily through Tajik government bonds and private loans, the administration in Dushanbe has requested EU financial and technological assistance in completing the project, according to an EU official familiar with the talks.
The hydroelectric plant, with its 335-meter-tall clay core rockfill dam, which the developers claim would be the tallest in the world when completed, is anticipated to end Tajikistan's chronic power shortages and allow it to export electricity to Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.
Between 2014 and 2020, the bank invested approximately 182 million euros ($186.8 million) in Central Asia, a fraction of its multi-billion-euro investments outside the EU's 27-nation territory.
An EU official, who declined to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the media, stated that one of the main reasons the EU became a major investor in the hydroelectric dam was to provide Tajikistan and its neighbors with energy independence from Russia.
According to the official, the EU is interested in establishing "Central Asia's energy independence from Russia." In response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February, Brussels and its Western allies have attempted to isolate it.