Bishkek power station

From Global Energy Monitor

Bishkek power station is a 910-megawatt (MW) coal plant in Kyrgyzstan.


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 and natural gas. Normally, the combined heating and power (CHP) plant is devoted to providing heating but it is also called into service for electricity production.[1][2]

300 MW Reconstruction Proposal (Units 12 and 13)

In 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.[3][4]

It was expected that four outdated turbine generators would be dismantled, and the two new ones would be installed in their place by 2018.[5]

A ceremony for launching of construction works was held in November 2015. The total cost of the project was US$386 million. The funds were allocated by the Export-Import Bank of China, while the works contractor was China company Tebian Electric Apparatus Stock Co. (TBEA).[6]

According to press reports in 2016, construction was advancing according to schedule.[7][8][9]

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.[10]

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."[11]

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. The Bishkek power plant was seen as an early test of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.[12]

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
  • Source of financing: Export-Import Bank of China (US$386 million)[13]
  • Permits and applications:

Articles and resources


  1. "Bishkek CHP Power Plant Kyrgyzstan," Global Energy Observatory, accessed September 2014
  2. "Coal-Fired Plants in the CIS - other countries," Power Plants Around the World, accessed September 2014
  3. "China helps upgrade Bishkek Thermal Power Plant," The Times of Central Asia, September 23, 2013
  4. "2014 the crucial year for Kyrgyz energy sector — PM," Times of Central Asia, September 17, 2014
  5. "Kyrgyzstan gains electricity independence," Azernews, September 3, 2015
  6. "Modernization of the Bishkek Thermal Power Plant Started in Kyrgyzstan," East Time, November 3, 2015
  7. "Modernization progress of Bishkek combined heat and power plant," AKI Press, July 14, 2016
  8. "Destabilization in Kyrgyzstan after presidential elections possible - Atambayev," Trend News Agency, August 30, 2017
  9. "Modernized Kyrgyzstan district heating plant opens," Decentralized Energy, August 31, 2017
  10. "Kyrgyzstan: Freeze Turns to Hot Fury Over Bishkek's Power Plant Failure,", January 30, 2018
  11. Julia Kostenko, "Modernization of Bishkek Heating and Power Plant: making gross mistake," News Agency, January 24, 2014
  12. "A Power Plant Fiasco Highlights China’s Growing Clout in Central Asia," New York Times, July 9, 2019
  13. "Towards Secure and Sustainable Energy Supply in Central Asia: Electricity Market Reform and Investment Protection" (PDF). 2015.

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