Kazakhstan Wants to Sell Two Hydro Power Plants

The goal is to hand plants over to private investors

Ust-Kamenogorsk and Shulba hydro-electric power stations, which are the biggest stations of that kind in Eastern Kazakhstan, should be sold in May 2021.

On December 29, 2020, the government of Kazakhstan approved a Complex Privatization Plan for 2021-2025. Both hydro-power stations have been included in the list of state property that should be sold as soon as possible.

According to the website privatization.gosreestr.kz, Ust-Kamenogorsk and Shulba hydro-electric power stations must be prepared for sale. This pre-selling procedure will last four months, with the first auction already scheduled for May 4. It’s expected that on May 17 the government and potential customers may sign a contract. However, it is still unknown how much the assets may cost; the preliminary figures will be announced in early April.

Both Ust-Kamenogorsk and Shulba hydro-power stations are both located on Irtysh River, with a capacity of 355.6 and 702 megawatts respectively. Kazakhstan’s Committee on Managing State Property has owned both stations for several years, while the Ministry of Energy acts as the managing organization. However, the auditing reports concerning the activity of the stations are not available to the public.  

The official names of both hydro-electric stations still include the name of the American AES corporation, which had owned those companies for over 20 years (from 1997 to 2017). 

Because of several changes that had been introduced into Kazakhstan’s legislation, AES couldn’t sell electricity through broker companies it created. In 2010 AES brought a case before the court against Kazakhstan and claimed the country’s government must pay $1.29 billion to cover its losses. However, in 2018 Kazakhstan’s government won the case in the arbitration court of the International Chamber of Commerce in the U.K.

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