Central Asia's energy ring: forward into the past

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Central Asia's energy ring: forward into the past 19.04.2018 10:52

The creation of a single energy ring in Central Asia will be difficult, said Konstantin Simonov, president of the National Energy Security Fund.

Plans to create an energy ring Simonov commented on the forum of Eurasian integration "Prospects for the development and strengthening of the SCO," which was held on April 17-18 in Sochi.

Four Central Asian republics - Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan - are planning to resume the work of a single energy ring. During the Soviet Union, such a ring united the electric power capacities of these countries, and they were spared from problems with electricity.

According to Simonov, the situation with such a large-scale project in modern realities is ambiguous.

"There are quite a lot of projects on the integration of energy systems within the SCO, but outside of this organization, but I treat them with care". The process of "electric unification" is very difficult, even on the basis of the post-Soviet space аrom the point of view of tariff policy, and from the point of view of export-import. "

Simonov is skeptical about the projections for the rapid opening of the ring. According to the expert, this project is unlikely to work in the next ten years.

Also, the economist commented on the possibilities of exporting electricity to neighbors of the "ring" countries:

"The market needs a well-established sales system, not just the energy ring itself." How will the electricity sales system look like? There will be a stock exchange, a wholesale or a retail electricity market? It's unclear. "In addition, who will sell energy to Central Asia? from this region, Afghanistan has a very specific management culture and it is not yet necessary to consider it as a sane subject of market relations".

The new energy model in Central Asia was finally formed in 1997, although it was developed since 1991. It included Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Southern Kazakhstan (the northern part was connected with Russian networks).

Unfortunately, the authorities and could not find a common language about the operation of the system. Tajikistan started talking about the creation of a single energy ring in May 2017 at a meeting of the heads of energy departments of the Central Asian republics. If this initiative is successfully implemented, Tajikistan will begin a more extensive export of surplus electricity, which it accumulates in the summer.