Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Make Your Own Power Station

While the focus in Kyrgyzstan is often on ambitious hydroelectric projects like the Kambarata dam, water-powered turbines of more modest proportions are quietly whirring away in the background.
These generating units, installed on rivers and streams with a sufficient flow of water to keep them running, are called “mini-hydroelectric power stations”. “Mini” because they are nothing like the giant schemes that supply Kyrgyzstan with most of its electricity.

The problem is that big as they are, the hydroelectric stations are not supplying enough power and people across the country are suffering frequent power cuts, made all the worse by the onset of winter. Small generators, even home-made ones, go some way to alleviate such power shortages.

Reporter Jannat Toktosunova visited the village of Mingbulak in the Talas region, where local man Sadybakhas Ordubaev has made his own system out of bits of an old tractor. It is powerful enough to keep a carpentry workshop’s lathes turning, and that generates income.

“It’s not that difficult if you’re interested in it,” said Ordubaev. “All you have to do is find out about the technology and source the parts you need. And of course you need a constant flow of water plus a sufficient height for the water to drop down.”

Other people make do with cheaper, less ambitious systems that provide them enough power to keep the lights on and watch TV.

Residents complain that the authorities are just not interested in what they are doing. A representative of the power company for northern Kyrgyzstan, Severelektro, said mini-schemes were not on its list of priorities.

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