Bishkek power station

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Bishkek power station (Бишкекская ТЭЦ, ТЭЦ г. Бишкек) is an operating power station of at least 813-megawatts (MW) in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan with multiple units, some of which are not currently operating. It is also known as Bishkek CHP power station.

Location

Table 1: Project-level location details

Plant name Location Coordinates (WGS 84)
Bishkek power station Bishkek, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan 42.871747, 74.654957 (exact)[1]

The map below shows the exact location of the power station.

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Unit-level coordinates (WGS 84):

  • Unit 1, Unit 10, Unit 11, Unit 12, Unit 13, Unit 14, Unit 15, Unit 3, Unit 4, Unit 5, Unit 6, Unit 7, Unit 8, Unit 9: 42.871747, 74.654957

Project Details

Table 2: Unit-level details

Unit name Status Fuel(s) Capacity (MW) Technology CHP Start year Retired year
Unit 1 retired[2] coal: unknown, fossil gas: natural gas[3] 35[4] subcritical[3] yes[3] 1961[3] 2017[3]
Unit 10, timepoint 1 operating[5][3][6] coal: unknown, fossil gas: natural gas[3] 86[4][3] subcritical[3] yes[7][3] 1976[3] 2025 (planned)[5]
Unit 10, timepoint 2 pre-construction[7][8][9][10][11][12] fossil gas: natural gas[7][8][9] 86[7][8][9] steam turbine[4][3] yes[7][3] 2025 (planned)[5]
Unit 11, timepoint 1 operating[5][3][6] coal: unknown, fossil gas: natural gas[3] 100[4][3] subcritical[3] yes[7][3] 2000[3] 2025 (planned)[5]
Unit 11, timepoint 2 pre-construction[7][8][9][10][11][12] fossil gas: natural gas[7][8][9] 100[7][8][9] steam turbine[4][3] yes[7][3] 2025 (planned)[5]
Unit 12 operating[5][3][6] coal: unknown, fossil gas: natural gas[3] 150[3] subcritical[3] yes[3] 2017[3]
Unit 13 operating[5][3][6] coal: unknown, fossil gas: natural gas[3] 150[3] subcritical[3] yes[3] 2017[3]
Unit 14 announced[13][14] fossil gas: natural gas[13] 0[13] gas turbine[13] yes[3]
Unit 15 announced[13][14] fossil gas: natural gas[13] 0[13] gas turbine[13] yes[3]
Unit 3 retired[2] coal: unknown, fossil gas: natural gas[3] 50[4] subcritical[3] yes[3] 1963[3] 2017[3]
Unit 4 retired[2] coal: unknown, fossil gas: natural gas[3] 65[4] subcritical[3] yes[3] 1964[3] 2017[3]
Unit 5 operating[5][3][6] coal: unknown, fossil gas: natural gas[3] 35[4] subcritical[3] yes[7][3] 1965[3] 2025 (planned)[5]
Unit 6, timepoint 1 operating[5][3][6] coal: unknown, fossil gas: natural gas[3] 86[4] subcritical[3] yes[7][3] 1966[3] 2025 (planned)[5]
Unit 6, timepoint 2 pre-construction[7][8][9][10][11][12] fossil gas: natural gas[7][8][9] 86[7][8][9] steam turbine[4][3] yes[7][3] 2025 (planned)[5]
Unit 7, timepoint 1 operating[5][3][6] coal: unknown, fossil gas: natural gas[3] 60[4][3] subcritical[3] yes[7][3] 1970[3] 2025 (planned)[5]
Unit 7, timepoint 2 pre-construction[7][8][9][10][11][12] fossil gas: natural gas[7][8][9] 60[7][8][9] steam turbine[4][3] yes[7][3] 2025 (planned)[5]
Unit 8, timepoint 1 operating[5][3][6] coal: unknown, fossil gas: natural gas[3] 60[4][3] subcritical[3] yes[7][3] 1972[3] 2025 (planned)[5]
Unit 8, timepoint 2 pre-construction[7][8][9][10][11][12] fossil gas: natural gas[7][8][9] 60[7][8][9] steam turbine[4][3] yes[7][3] 2025 (planned)[5]
Unit 9, timepoint 1 operating[5][3][6] coal: unknown, fossil gas: natural gas[3] 86[4] subcritical[3] yes[7][3] 1975[3] 2025 (planned)[5]
Unit 9, timepoint 2 pre-construction[7][8][9][10][11][12] fossil gas: natural gas[7][8][9] 86[7][8][9] steam turbine[4][3] yes[7][3] 2025 (planned)[5]

CHP is an abbreviation for Combined Heat and Power. It is a technology that produces electricity and thermal energy at high efficiencies. Coal units track this information in the Captive Use section when known.

Table 3: Unit-level ownership and operator details

Unit name Owner Parent
Unit 1 Electricheskiye Stantsii OJSC [100%][3] National Electrical Grid of Kyrgyzstan OJSC [80.6%]; Social Fund of Kyrgyzstan [13.2%]
Unit 10, timepoint 1 Electricheskiye Stantsii OJSC [100%][3] National Electrical Grid of Kyrgyzstan OJSC [80.6%]; Social Fund of Kyrgyzstan [13.2%]
Unit 10, timepoint 2 Electricheskiye Stantsii OJSC [100%][3] National Electrical Grid of Kyrgyzstan OJSC [80.6%]; Social Fund of Kyrgyzstan [13.2%]
Unit 11, timepoint 1 Electricheskiye Stantsii OJSC [100%][3] National Electrical Grid of Kyrgyzstan OJSC [80.6%]; Social Fund of Kyrgyzstan [13.2%]
Unit 11, timepoint 2 Electricheskiye Stantsii OJSC [100%][3] National Electrical Grid of Kyrgyzstan OJSC [80.6%]; Social Fund of Kyrgyzstan [13.2%]
Unit 12 Electricheskiye Stantsii OJSC [100%][3] National Electrical Grid of Kyrgyzstan OJSC [80.6%]; Social Fund of Kyrgyzstan [13.2%]
Unit 13 Electricheskiye Stantsii OJSC [100%][3] National Electrical Grid of Kyrgyzstan OJSC [80.6%]; Social Fund of Kyrgyzstan [13.2%]
Unit 14 Electricheskiye Stantsii OJSC [100%][3] National Electrical Grid of Kyrgyzstan OJSC [80.6%]; Social Fund of Kyrgyzstan [13.2%]
Unit 15 Electricheskiye Stantsii OJSC [100%][3] National Electrical Grid of Kyrgyzstan OJSC [80.6%]; Social Fund of Kyrgyzstan [13.2%]
Unit 3 Electricheskiye Stantsii OJSC [100%][3] National Electrical Grid of Kyrgyzstan OJSC [80.6%]; Social Fund of Kyrgyzstan [13.2%]
Unit 4 Electricheskiye Stantsii OJSC [100%][3] National Electrical Grid of Kyrgyzstan OJSC [80.6%]; Social Fund of Kyrgyzstan [13.2%]
Unit 5 Electricheskiye Stantsii OJSC [100%][3] National Electrical Grid of Kyrgyzstan OJSC [80.6%]; Social Fund of Kyrgyzstan [13.2%]
Unit 6, timepoint 1 Electricheskiye Stantsii OJSC [100%][3] National Electrical Grid of Kyrgyzstan OJSC [80.6%]; Social Fund of Kyrgyzstan [13.2%]
Unit 6, timepoint 2 Electricheskiye Stantsii OJSC [100%][3] National Electrical Grid of Kyrgyzstan OJSC [80.6%]; Social Fund of Kyrgyzstan [13.2%]
Unit 7, timepoint 1 Electricheskiye Stantsii OJSC [100%][3] National Electrical Grid of Kyrgyzstan OJSC [80.6%]; Social Fund of Kyrgyzstan [13.2%]
Unit 7, timepoint 2 Electricheskiye Stantsii OJSC [100%][3] National Electrical Grid of Kyrgyzstan OJSC [80.6%]; Social Fund of Kyrgyzstan [13.2%]
Unit 8, timepoint 1 Electricheskiye Stantsii OJSC [100%][3] National Electrical Grid of Kyrgyzstan OJSC [80.6%]; Social Fund of Kyrgyzstan [13.2%]
Unit 8, timepoint 2 Electricheskiye Stantsii OJSC [100%][3] National Electrical Grid of Kyrgyzstan OJSC [80.6%]; Social Fund of Kyrgyzstan [13.2%]
Unit 9, timepoint 1 Electricheskiye Stantsii OJSC [100%][3] National Electrical Grid of Kyrgyzstan OJSC [80.6%]; Social Fund of Kyrgyzstan [13.2%]
Unit 9, timepoint 2 Electricheskiye Stantsii OJSC [100%][3] National Electrical Grid of Kyrgyzstan OJSC [80.6%]; Social Fund of Kyrgyzstan [13.2%]

Unit-level fuel conversion details:

Unit 10: Conversion in pre-construction phase from coal to fossil gas in 2025.

Unit 11: Conversion in pre-construction phase from coal to fossil gas in 2025.

Unit 6: Conversion in pre-construction phase from coal to fossil gas in 2025.

Unit 7: Conversion in pre-construction phase from coal to fossil gas in 2025.

Unit 8: Conversion in pre-construction phase from coal to fossil gas in 2025.

Unit 9: Conversion in pre-construction phase from coal to fossil gas in 2025.

Project-level coal details

  • Coal source(s): Kara Keche coal mine & Karazhyra field

Background

Built beginning in 1961, the original Bishkek power station produces heat, hot water, and electricity.[15][16] The plant is the largest electricity provider in the north of the country and satisfies 100% of Bishkek's electricity demand and 15% of the country's demand. [17] The plant also provides heating and hot water to 2350 apartment complexes and at least 1840 private homes, in total serving more than 112,000 customers.[17]

The power station is mostly fired by coal, with gas and fuel oil used as the start-up fuel.[18]

The power plant is owned by Electricheskiye Stantsii JSC (Electric Power Plants JSC) that was established as a result of reorganization of Kyrgyzenergo OJSC in 2001. As of December 2022, 80.56% of Electric Power Plants JSC was held by the National Energy Holding Company OJSC. The ultimate controlling party is the Ministry of Energy of the Kyrgyz Republic.[19]

Capacity

The initial plant included units ranging from 25 to 100 MW, for a total of 688 MW.[20] In 2017, 300 MW of capacity was added (see below). 4 older units totalling about 175 MW were retired with the commissioning of the new units in 2017, including a smaller Unit 2.[20][21]

The undated website of Power Stations JSC (Elektricheskiye Stantsii), the owner of the plant, reported the plant's capacity at 812 MW with 9 turbine units and 18 boilers, after the modernization was completed in 2017.[18][22] IEA report on the energy sector in Kyrgyzstan 2022 also also referred to capacity of 812 MW[23].

As of 2021, the plant was producing 1-1 -1.5 billion kWh of electricity per year.[24]

Fuel

The plant mostly uses domestic coal but in summer of 2021, a Kazakh company won the tender for the supply of fuel from Kazakhstan - 643 tonnes coal from the Karazhyra Coal Mine. This company began supplying coal in June 2021. About 1 million tons of coal used by the plant still comes from the Kara-Keche coal mine in Kyrgyzstan, while additional 650 tonnes were expected to come from the Karazhyra field.[25] In autumn 2022, Kyrgyzstan was again faced with the problem of insufficient domestic coal ahead of the winter season and had to import coal from Kazakhstan.[26][27] As of November 2023, the plant was ready for the winter heating season expecting to consume 1.2 million tonnes of coal, out of which 550 thousand tonnes would be imported (from Kazakhstan).[28] In addition, 70.1 million cubic meters of natural gas and 5 thousand tonnes of fuel oil will be used.[28]

The plant also uses gas and gas consumption increased several times since 2020 (from 29 million cubic meters per year to 2024 levels of 90 million cubic meters as of March 2024).[29]

300 MW Reconstruction (Units 12 and 13)

In September 2013, the Kyrgyzstan Parliament made an agreement with the Export-Import Bank of China for a US$386 million loan to finance two new 150 MW units at the plant: Units 12 and 13.[30] The new units were constructed by Tebian Electric Apparatus Stock (TBEA).[31][32] It was expected that four outdated turbine generators would be dismantled, and the two new ones would be installed in their place by 2018.[21]

According to press reports in 2016, construction was advancing according to schedule.[33][34][35] The new units were inaugurated in August 2017.

The power station failed during a cold snap in the winter in January 2018, raising questions around the quality of TBEA's work and why the contract was not put out to tender when other companies were interested in bidding.[36]

Opposition & Controversy

The reconstruction decision generated immediate criticism from a variety of political figures.

Members of the Supervisory Board on transparency of fuel and energy complex initiative said that the Electric Power Plants iolated the provisions of the law on public procurements by not following a procedure that allowed transparent evaluation of proposals from multiple bidders. Although the Chinese company TBEA was chosen to build the plant, critics said that China Machinery Engineering (CMEC) had actually submitted a lower offer.

According to one media report, there appeared to be "a lot of rumours" that the Minister of Energy and Industry had "private ties" with TBEA, including financial assistance in building an apartment house on the south Highway. Member of parliament Zamir Bekboyev said that the CMEC offer would have been US$30 million cheaper. According to another member of parliament, Kozhobek Ryspayev, MPs had been rushed through the decision with no time to look through documents, and were told that Export-Import Bank of China's role as financier of the project gave it control over the selection of the contractor. Electric Stations Director General Salaydin Avazov said, "If we had money for reconstruction, we would have held a tender. And since there is no money, we have agreed to the terms of Eximbank."[37]

According to the New York Times, the public outcry and a trial in Bishkek exposed Chinese business practices and local corruption to months of intense scrutiny from Kyrgyzstan’s media and elected politicians. A former plant director described "obscene" price inflation by TBEA, with a pair of pliers priced at US$320, and tens of millions of dollars of unexplained consulting fees. The Bishkek power plant was seen as an early test of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.[38]

The outrage around the new units led to the arrest of two former prime ministers, Sapar Isakov (2017-2018) and Zhantoro Satybaldiyev (2012-2014), for their role in the corruption scandal.[39]

Pollution and Conversion to Gas

In December 2020, the acting Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan, Artem Novikov, instructed the relevant authorities to carry out calculations on the possibility of converting the Bishkek power station to gas.[17] In the "Plan of Comprehensive Measures to Improve the Environmental Situation in Bishkek", the government prescribed that it is necessary to work out the issue of a phased reconstruction of boiler houses by 2022 in order to convert them to gas, use renewable energy sources such as solar collectors, thermal waters and more.[17] However, the new blocks completed in 2017 were expected to operate on coal.[17]

In January 2021, media reported that the station can be converted to gas if the company agrees on the price of fuel with Gazprom.[40] It was reported that Electricheskiye Stantsii JSC and Gazprom have carried out calculations related to this conversion.[40] It was further reported at the end of January 2021 that negotiations were ongoing between the government and Gazprom regarding the price of gas supplied by Gazprom.[41] In June 2021, it was reported that the negotiations were halted since the price offered by Gazprom was too high and the cost of running the station on gas would be nine times higher than is currently on coal.[42] Reportedly, the alternative of supplying gas from Turkmenistan was being considered instead in 2021.[42]

In December 2022, the plan to transition the plant to gas was mentioned in several media articles, but without any concrete plans. One of the drivers is the heavy smoke in the city of Bishkek with the power plant being one of the main contributors, in additional to many small coal-fired boiler houses dotted across the city.[43][44] Kyrgyzstan has asked for UN funding of USD 6.7 billion to tackle the heavy pollution problem.[45][44] In February 2023, a technical audit of the boilers was conducted concluding that the energy boilers emit several times more emissions than permitted while the filters were switched off during the audit so it was not possible to verify their effectiveness.[46]

As of May 2023, the Cabinet of Ministers of the Kyrgyz Republic was reported to be in the process of estimating the costs of the coal-to-gas conversion.[47] In June 2023, Minister of Energy of Kyrgyzstan Taalaybek Ibrayev reported that the conversion would cost KGS 4 billion (USD 45 million) in addition to the cost of gas.[48]

In June 2023, the plant's transition to gas was discussed again at the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Kyrgyz Republic. It was mentioned that in case of the transition, the volume of coal used by the power station would decrease by 600,000 tons. Head of the Cabinet of Ministers Akylbek Zhaparov issued an order to make additional calculations of the cost of the conversion.[49] However in September 2023 it was reported that transition to gas is currently not feasible as Kazakhstan’s gas transit capacities do not allow for an increase in gas supplies from Russia in the volume required by the plant. Previously, Kyrgyzstan received gas from Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, but currently receiving Russian gas.[50]

In March 2024, plant management announced that the Bishkek power station was ready for conversion to gas without the need for additional investments. Efforts were underway to prepare transit capacities and explore gas supply possibilities. During the summer of 2023, several boilers were successfully operating on gas in a test mode without encountering any issues. Enhancements to the reliability of the main gas pipelines along with repairs of gas distribution stations were undertaken to facilitate the transition of the capital's plant to gas, slated for no earlier than the beginning of 2025. All relevant agreements and contracts for gas supply with Russia's Gazprom are scheduled to be finalized in the summer of 2024.[51][52]

In March 2024, Deputy Energy Minister of Kyrgyzstan, Taalaybek Baygaziyev, stated that the Bishkek power station would not completely phase out coal operations. According to him, the new upgraded units (units 12-13) had been built with advanced purification capabilities and there were no plans to discontinue their use. Additionally, new units will be built, resulting in a total capacity of approximately 550 MW. Over the next three years, the old units will be mothballed, and the new combined-cycle gas turbine units will built. This will be a new construction project located on a separate site.[53]

New construction

In April 2024, Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers of Kyrgyzstan Akylbek Japarov mentioned that two gas-fired units would be built at the power station as part of its modernization.[54]

Incidents

In February 2024, a major explosion at one of the units at the Bishkek plant injured five workers, three seriously, and left parts of the city without heat and hot water for a day. Following the accident, Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov vowed the plant would be modernized.[55][56]

Financing

  • 2013: Units 12 and 13 - Export-Import Bank of China (US$386 million)

Articles and Resources

References

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Additional data

To access additional data, including interactive maps of the power stations, downloadable datasets, and summary data, please visit the Global Coal Plant Tracker and the Global Oil and Gas Plant Tracker on the Global Energy Monitor website.