October 6, 2022

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Gradual return to power after a major blackout in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan

On Tuesday, January 25, electricity was gradually returned to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. All three Central Asian countries were hit by a still-unknown catastrophic blackout, which affected millions of people and caused major infrastructure disruptions.

Much of Kazakhstan’s economic capital, Almaty, such as Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, and Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, were without electricity at noon local time (5 pm in Paris). The Kazakh capital, Noorsultan, which is connected to another network, was not affected.

The cuts have also affected large parts of the provinces in all three countries. Their electrical dependence is very high due to a regional network derived from the Soviet era. Despite investments in their network since independence three decades ago, these three former Soviet republics continue to experience power cuts, sometimes on a large scale.

According to media and officials, the cuts have affected large parts of the provinces of the three countries. A statement from the Uzbek Ministry of Energy in a telegram linked the incident “The big accident (…) This caused sudden voltage and frequency changes across 530 lines. “ On the network of Kazakhstan. These cuts are due “Accident Affects Regional Energy Network”, A spokesman for Kyrgyzstan’s energy ministry said without elaborating. Kekok, Kazakh Electric Company, Report a “Electric load”Without explaining the origin of the failure, however.

Cryptocurrency mining boom

“The cause of the accident will be established by a joint commission of three countries”Kyrgyz Prime Minister Akhilbek Zaparov declared for his part that this breakdown after independence was not equivalent.

Airports across the region were disrupted, Tashkent flights were grounded for a while and Manas International Airport in Bishkek was reduced to a source of emergency power. In Bishkek, pumping stations were closed due to a power outage, which affected the running water supply. The most important Tashkent Metro in the region was also shut down. At a ski resort near Tashkent, nearly 80 skiers trapped in cable cars had to be rescued.

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In Central Asian countries, energy networks were hit by a major summer drought that affected hydropower capacity in Kyrgyzstan, a major regional producer. On the other hand, the rise of so-called “mining” of cryptocurrencies in the region, especially in Kazakhstan, has increased the demand for electricity, which is causing strains in the network. The reason for this growthBan on this activity in China Neighboring, as well as an increase in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin in the second half of last year. In early January, Kosovo It had also decided to ban the mining of cryptocurrencies in its territory following a power shortage.

South Kazakhstan, which continues to suffer from energy shortages, is dependent on goods coming from the north of the country, especially due to the increase in these mining activities.

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Population growth

According to the Russian news agency RIA, the airport in Almaty was operating normally, but the airport in Tashkent was grounded due to a power outage. Regional airports were also affected.

According to media reports, Manas International Airport in Bishkek had to return to the emergency power source. “The airport is working (…) But not to its full potential “, The airport said in a statement quoted by local media, that it could still accommodate flights. But the check-in has been suspended for some flights departing from the Kyrgyz capital.

Also in Bishkek, the media reported that pumping stations were closed and running water supply was disrupted due to the power outage.

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The most important Tashkent Metro in the region also came to a standstill. Russian agencies say 80 skiers trapped in cable cars have been rescued from a ski resort near Tashkent.

Last autumn, many countries in Central Asia already experienced major power outages, which explains the dilapidated condition and the interdependence of power networks in the region. The population of the five Central Asian countries has increased over the past thirty years, from 51 million to 75 million.

World with AFP