Bishkek power station

From Global Energy Monitor

Bishkek power station (Russian: Бишкекская ТЭЦ, ТЭЦ г. Бишкек) is a 910-megawatt (MW) coal plant in Kyrgyzstan.

The plant is proposed to be converted to natural gas.[1]


The photo below shows the plant in Bishkek.

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Background on Plant

Built beginning in 1961, the original Bishkek CHP power station consisted of units ranging from 25 to 100 MW, for a total of 666 MW. Only 13 out of 24 boilers are in working order, and are powered by coal, with gas and fuel oil used as the lighting fuel.[2] The plant currently produces 910 MW of electricity.

The combined heating and power (CHP) plant produces heating, hot water, and electricity.[3][4] The plant is currently the largest electricity provider in the north of the country and satisfies 100% of Bishkek's electricity demand.[1] 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.[1]

Coal Source

The plant mostly uses domestic coal but in summer of 2021, a Kazakh company won the tender for the supply of fuel from Kazakhstan, which imports 643 tons of coal from the Karazhyra field. This company began supplying coal in June. About a million tons of coal used by the plant still come from the Kara Keche coal mine in Kyrgyzstan, while the additional 650 tons are expected to come from the Kazazhyra field.[5]

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. The new units would be constructed by Tebian Electric Apparatus Stock (TBEA).[6][7]

It was expected that four outdated turbine generators would be dismantled, and the two new ones would be installed in their place by 2018.[8]

According to press reports in 2016, construction was advancing according to schedule.[9][10][11]

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.[12]

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 Stations Joint Special Committee violated 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 rumors" 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."[13]

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 boisterous news 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.[14]

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.[15]

Project Details for 300 MW Reconstruction

  • Sponsor: Electricheskiye Stantsii JSC
  • Parent company: National Electrical Grid of Kyrgyzstan
  • Developer:
  • Location: Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
  • Coordinates: 42.873, 74.6541 (exact)
  • Status: Operating
  • Capacity: 300 MW (Units 12 & 13: 150 MW)
  • Type:
  • Start date: 2017
  • Coal Type:
  • Coal Source: Domestic (Kara Keche coal mine) & Kazakh (Karazhyra field)[5]
  • Source of financing: Export-Import Bank of China (US$386 million)[16]
  • Permits and applications:

Proposed 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.[1] In the "Plan of Comprehensive Measures to Improve the Environmental Situation in Bishkek", the government prescribed for itself 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.[1] However, in the fall of 2017, the modernization of the power station - on a 20-year loan from China in the sum of 386 million USD - was completed with the expectation that the station will continue operating on coal.[1]

In January 2021, media reported that the station can be converted to gas if the company agrees on the price of fuel with Gazprom.[17] It was reported that Electricheskiye Stantsii JSC (its parent company, National Electrical Grid of Kyrgyzstan) and Gazprom have carried out calculations related to this conversion.[17] 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.[18] 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.[19] Reportedly, the alternative of supplying gas from Turkmenistan is being considered instead.[19] There were no new updates related to gasification in June 2022.

Articles and resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 "Правительство изучит возможность перевода Бишкекской ТЭЦ на газ". Radio Freedom (Radio Azzatyk). Dec 19, 2020. Retrieved Jan 3, 2022.
  2. "ТЭЦ г. Бишкек". Electricheskiye Stantsii JSC. Retrieved Jan 3, 2022.
  3. "Bishkek CHP Power Plant Kyrgyzstan," Global Energy Observatory, accessed September 2014
  4. "Coal-Fired Plants in the CIS - other countries," Power Plants Around the World, accessed September 2014
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Угольный след казахстанской компании на Бишкекской ТЭЦ". Radio Azattyk. Oct 21, 2021. Retrieved Dec 1, 2021.
  6. "China helps upgrade Bishkek Thermal Power Plant," The Times of Central Asia, Sep. 23, 2013, Archived Feb. 6, 2016
  7. "2014 the crucial year for Kyrgyz energy sector — PM," Times of Central Asia, September 17, 2014
  8. "Kyrgyzstan gains electricity independence," Azernews, September 3, 2015
  9. "Modernization progress of Bishkek combined heat and power plant," AKI Press, July 14, 2016
  10. "Destabilization in Kyrgyzstan after presidential elections possible - Atambayev," Trend News Agency, August 30, 2017
  11. "Modernized Kyrgyzstan district heating plant opens," Decentralized Energy, August 31, 2017
  12. "Kyrgyzstan: Freeze Turns to Hot Fury Over Bishkek's Power Plant Failure,", January 30, 2018
  13. Julia Kostenko, "Modernization of Bishkek Heating and Power Plant: making gross mistake," News Agency, January 24, 2014
  14. "A Power Plant Fiasco Highlights China’s Growing Clout in Central Asia," New York Times, July 9, 2019
  15. China finds investment in Kyrgyzstan a risky necessity, Geopolitical Intelligence Services, Apr. 11, 2019
  16. "Towards Secure and Sustainable Energy Supply in Central Asia: Electricity Market Reform and Investment Protection" (PDF). 2015.
  17. 17.0 17.1 "ТЭЦ могут перевести на газ, если договорятся о цене топлива с «Газпромом»". Jan 8, 2021. Retrieved Jan 3, 2022.
  18. "Перевод ТЭЦ на газ. «Газпром» готов дать скидку 25 процентов". Jan 22, 2021. Retrieved Jan 3, 2022.
  19. 19.0 19.1 "ТЭЦ Бишкека не переведут на газ. Власти и "Газпром" не смогли договориться". Kaktus Media. June 17, 2021. Retrieved Jan 3, 2022.

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