Italy’s Salini Impregilo Group has broken ground a $3.9bn project to build the tallest dam in the world in Rogun, southern Tajikistan.
The 335m tall barrier will divert the flow of the Vakhsh River and double Tajikistan’s installed generating capacity, currently around 4.5GW.
Tajikistan is the smallest country in central Asia, with a population of 7.6 million. At present it suffers from persistent power outages in the winter months, despite the fact that it is reckoned to have 4% of the world’s hydroelectric resources.
The government reportedly aims to increase installed capacity by 40% a year, and to begin exporting 1GW south to Pakistan, which also suffers from power shortages.
Claudio Lautizi, general manager of international operations for Salini Impregilo, said: "The project is extremely complex and it involves managing the strength of the river. The diversion of the Vakhsh River was done by directing it towards tunnels on the left side of the mountain."
Completion of phase I is expected by April 2019, when two of the dam’s six turbines will become operational. One of the turbines will be producing electricity by the end of 2018.
It will take another seven years-and-a-half years to excavate the 61 million cubic metres of rock and other material for the project and beat the record of the tallest dam in the world, a record held by Jinping-I, an arch dam on the Yalong Rivers in southern China, which has a 305m high barrier.
Image: A reservoir in Tajikistan (Paul/Wikimedia Commons)