Tajikistan’s Qairokkum Hydropower plant: Planning ahead for climate change
Tajikistan depends on hydropower for about 98% of its electricity and during winter months about 70% of the population experiences power outages. Tajikistan’s Qairokkum Hydropower plant relies on river basins that are fed by melted snow and glaciers, and these sources of water are vulnerable to climate change impacts. Additionally, climate change models have predicted significant changes to precipitation patterns in the region. Outlined below, and detailed in the case study, are several actions and good practices used to modernize and rehabilitate the Qairokkum Hydropower plant in the context of climate change. The actions align with international best practice as demonstrated in the most modern hydropower plants in Canada and Australia.
- A comprehensive mapping of future climate change scenarios allowed for identification of climate change risks and uncertainties that could result in possible changes in water inflow to the hydropower plant.
- Assessing future climate change scenarios over different time periods with varying global temperature changes allowed for identification of diverse technical solutions. For each scenario, technical options were put forth, such as component replacements (e.g. turbines), in order to minimize risk. This information then informed development of possible investment plans to rehabilitate the plant under different scenarios.
- Evaluating hydropower electricity production under various climate change scenarios, using multiple hydrological models, provided a thorough understanding of possible future electricity production.
- Based on the assessments, a comprehensive modernization and rehabilitation plan and investment strategy was designed to ensure future electricity production and dam safety.