( RIA Novosti ) - Russia's electricity monopoly Unified Energy System (UES) commissioned on Sunday the first unit of a major hydropower plant it is building in Tajikistan.
The construction of the Sangtuda-1 hydropower plant located some 110 km (68 miles) southeast of Dushanbe began in the late 1980s. By the early 1990s, only 20% of the construction work had been fulfilled, and further construction was suspended due to a civil war that broke out in the ex-Soviet Central Asian republic immediately after it declared its independence in 1992.
Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon who attended the launch ceremony praised the commissioning of the hydropower plant's first unit.
"This event has become yet another proof of close strategic cooperation between both countries," Rakhmon said.
The talks between Russia and Tajikistan on completing the construction of the Sangtuda-1 HPP began in 2003 and in 2004 the parties signed an inter-governmental agreement, under which the project was estimated at $720 million
The first power unit has a capacity of 167.5 MW. The Sangtuda-1 HPP is expected to be put into operation in late 2008-early 2009. The HPP will have a total capacity of 670 MW.