Tajikistan Energy and Environment Facts

Natural resources, energy and environment

Tajikistan’s most important natural resource is the vast water resources, with stray rivers flowing from the many glaciers. The country is estimated to have close to one-twentieth of the world’s hydropower resources. Only a fraction is utilized but an expansion is ongoing. There are also quite a lot of minerals, but the rock terrain in many cases makes the extraction unprofitable.

Several large dam and power plant projects are in progress, mainly in the river Vachsj. The Nurek dam was completed already in 1980. With its 304 fall meters long, it was the world’s highest dam (a pond in China is now 305 meters). Nurek accounts for three quarters of the electricity produced in the country.

  • COUNTRYAAH: Major exports by Tajikistan with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.

Other huge dust projects were also initiated during the Soviet era (1920–1991) but stopped during the 1990s. They were later resumed. Two power plants, Sangtuda-1 and Sangtuda-2, have been financed by Russia and Iran respectively and were inaugurated in 2009 and 2011.

The ongoing construction of the huge Rogund dam has sparked sharp protests. In neighboring Uzbekistan, people were worried for a long time about their water supply (see Foreign Policy and Defense) and the dam is also estimated to cause around 42,000 people in Tajikistan to leave their homes. Some have already moved. If the Rogund dam is built completely clear according to the plans, it will be the highest in the world, with a 335 meter fall height.

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Energy is imported

Despite the good water supply, there is a lack of energy in Tajikistan. A majority of residents suffer from electricity shortages during the winter. They suffer from cold and unhealthy indoor air due to coal burning. One problem is the outdated Soviet-built electricity grid, which mainly runs in an east-west direction, while the country needs the most transfers from north to south. This applies not least to increasing sales of electricity to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Extractions of crude oil and natural gas exist, which foreign companies are exploiting for future extraction. There are also coal reserves. A Chinese-owned coal power plant was inaugurated in Dushanbe in 2014 and will in the long term provide for almost half of the capital’s electricity and heating needs.

So far, large parts of the fuel needs are covered by imports. Since 2017, natural gas has been purchased from Uzbekistan, which, due to a conflict with Tajikistan, ceased supplies in 2012. Gas sales to Tajikistan were resumed following a regime change in the neighboring country (see Foreign Policy and Defense).

Gold, silver, lead, zinc, mercury, antimony, coal, salt and strontium are extracted. The mountainous terrain is often an obstacle to increased production.

Environmental problems

Tajikistan is also rich in uranium, which was extracted by primitive methods during the Soviet era. As a result, around 50 million tonnes of radioactive waste is found mainly in the northern part of the country. Often, the waste has been left completely without action, making it a threat to the environment and human health. In some vulnerable areas, cancer is more than three times as common as elsewhere.

Like its neighboring countries, Tajikistan has also been affected by environmental degradation as a result of unilateral cotton cultivation. The result is salting and poisoning of both soil and water, problems that were exacerbated during the civil war in the 1990s when the management of irrigation systems was neglected.


Energy use per person

338 kilos of oil equivalent (2014)

Electricity consumption per person

1492 kilowatt hours, kWh (2014)

Carbon dioxide emissions in total

5 189 thousand tonnes (2014)

Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant

0.6 ton (2014)

The share of energy from renewable sources

44.7 percent (2015)



Long prison sentence for opposition politicians

Opposition politician Zaid Sajdov is sentenced to 26 years in prison (see May 2013).


The government is being reformed

Several government members are replaced after the election. Oqil Oqilov, who has been Prime Minister since 1999, is replaced by Qohir Rasulzoda.

The President re-elected

November 6

Rahmon wins the presidential election with 84 percent of the vote, according to official data. The turnout is stated to be 86.6 percent.


Opposition Allians boycott presidential elections

Ojnihol Bobonazarova withdraws from the presidential election on the grounds that she has been harassed and has been unable to present the 210,000 signatures required. The parties behind her candidacy decide to boycott the election.

The Russian agreement clearly

Parliament ratifies the agreement with Russia that the Russian military may remain in the country until 2042 (see August 2012).


Presidential elections are announced

Decides that presidential elections will be held on 6 November; An opposition coalition with the Islamic Renewal Party and the Social Democratic Party nominates Ojnihol Bobonazarova as its candidate in the election.


Prison for support for opposition politicians

Opposition politician Zaid Sajdov’s family members and supporters are sentenced to short prison sentences after demonstrating with demands that he be released from detention (see May 2013).

“Russian military left until 2042”

Following a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Rahmon declares that the Tajik Parliament will ratify an agreement during the year to extend Russia’s military presence in Tajikistan to 2042. The agreement was concluded in October 2012, but the Tajik Parliament has delayed ratification. Russia has over 6,000 soldiers in the country.


Prison for suspected Islamists

Two men accused of membership in the militant Islamist group Jundallah are sentenced to prison for 20 and 15 years respectively. The men, both of whom are Tajik citizens, must have been members of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) in the past. Jundallah has been mainly active in southeastern Iran and operates from bases in Pakistan.


Many accusations against opposition politicians

Opposition politician Zaid Saidov (see April 2013) is arrested and accused of corruption, rape and polygamy. He is deprived of his parliamentary immunity and is not granted freedom of bail. Saidov denies the allegations and claims that they are politically motivated.


Clashes in Tajik exclave

Twelve people are injured when Tajiks attack Kyrgyz road workers in Voruch, a Tajik exclave inside Kyrgyzstan. The Tajiks accuse Kyrgyzstan of annexing land to build a road around Voruch.

Called for ex-minister still free

Ukraine announces that the former Prime Minister Abdullojonov (see February 2013) called for by Tajikistan should not be extradited, as he has been living in the US for many years. Abdullojonov is then released.

Opposition members form a new party

Opposition politician Zaid Saidov and a number of other entrepreneurs announce that they will form a new political party, New Tajikistan (Tojikiston Nav). They criticize the government for widespread corruption and ineffective reforms.


Suspected drug abuse in prison

A police investigator is sentenced to two years in prison since a man suspected of theft died in custody. According to the deceased’s relatives, the man was tortured to admit crimes he had not committed. The lawyer appeals against the sentence. Amnesty has called on President Rahmon to intervene on torture and other abuses in prisons and prisons.

Assassination attempt on fugitive journalist

An exile journalist, Bachtijor Sattori, survives a murder trial in Moscow. Opposition activists in exile claim that Sattori was exposed because of his ties to Quvvatov (see December 2012) and attempts to create international pressure to prevent his extradition.

The former prime minister is arrested

Former Prime Minister Abdumalik Abdullojonov is arrested in Ukraine, at the request of Tajikistan. Abdullojonov was head of government from 1992 to 1993 and from the beginning allied with Rahmon. However, he comes from Chudzhand and thus belongs to the rival political camp in northern Tajikistan.


Tighter Internet control

The Rahmon regime once again blocks web pages on the Internet and refers to a law that prohibits the dissemination of information that can harm the honor and dignity of individuals.

Tajikistan Energy and Environment Facts

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