WASHINGTON/TASHKENT -- The World Bank's Board of Executive Directors January 25 approved the District Heating Energy Efficiency Project in Uzbekistan, which will be financed by a $140 million (1.1 trillion UZS) credit from its International Development Association.
"The World Bank is pleased to support the modernisation of the district heating system," said Hideki Mori, World Bank country manager for Uzbekistan. "These measures will improve the living conditions of hundreds of thousands of people across Uzbekistan."
The project will specifically benefit residents living in multi-unit apartment buildings in Andijan, Bukhara, Chirchik, Samarkand and Tashkent, and which are connected to or will be connected to the district heating service.
Users of public and administrative buildings, including kindergartens, schools, hospitals and municipality offices, will also experience an improvement in heating quality.
Unhealthy, unsafe heating alternatives
Uzbekistan often experiences cold and harsh winters. A stable heat supply is critical for ensuring the well-being of its citizens and for preventing environmental, safety and health-related hazards.
However, the country's district heating sector has suffered from years of neglect and its services have declined, if not vanished, in many cities.
Consequently, many households resort to inadequate -- unhealthy, unreliable, unsafe or expensive -- alternatives, such as coal-burning stoves.
Numerous kindergartens and schools in certain areas of the country are cold and provide an unsuitable environment for children.
District heating enterprises dating back to the Soviet era are not operationally viable today for several reasons, including heating rates that are below cost-recovery levels, low bill collection rates, high network heat and water losses, poor operational management and under-investments in the rehabilitation of the enterprises' main assets.
Improving heating infrastructure
The District Heating Energy Efficiency Project aims to address all of these challenges by introducing, for the first time, a modern district heating model for Uzbekistan.
The Project will also invest in district heating infrastructure, enhancing their capacity, and improving the regulatory framework to make selected district heating companies more viable, efficient and sustainable.
The electricity distribution subsidiaries of Uzbekenergo, a state-owned energy company, will experience reduced overload of their power networks. As a result, smaller technical losses, fewer breakdowns and fewer power outages are expected in the five participating cities.
The project is expected to reduce natural gas and electricity consumption, as well as carbon dioxide emissions, in the cities.
The World Bank is helping Uzbekistan to reach a wide range of development goals by supporting 16 projects worth $2 billion (16.3 trillion UZS). These projects support agriculture and water resources management, energy, transport, health care, education, urban development, water supply and sanitation.
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