The World Bank is providing a $23m loan to Kyrgyzstan along with a $23m grant to assist in developing the country’s district heat networks.

More than 200,000 people in the Kyrgyz Republic will benefit from the improved efficiency and quality of heating during cold winter months, thanks to the Heat Supply Improvement Project, approved today by the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors, the Bank said in a release.

Due to the cold climate and long heating season, access to a reliable and adequate heat supply is essential in the Kyrgyz Republic. Only about 17% of the 1.1 million Kyrgyz households, mainly located in the capital city Bishkek and other large cities, have access to district heating. The remaining 907,000 households have to use coal stoves (a primary heating source for around 60% of all households), electricity, wood, dung or gas to keep their homes warm in winter.
The country faces a number of challenges in facilitating more effective heating, as the capital city, Bishkek’s system is in poor state and there is generally low energy efficiency in schools and hospitals throughout the country. Additionally, a large majority of Kyrgyz households use traditional solid fuel-fired stoves that are highly inefficient, polluting, and result in low comfort levels in homes. Due to the low efficiency of the stoves, households spend on average 45% more money for fuel than necessary.

To help address these challenges, the project will finance the modernization of individual heat substations in nearly 2,000 apartment buildings in Bishkek, including the installation of 4,000 building-level heat and hot water meters with remote reading functions, or so called “smart meters”.

Additionally, the project will support the replacement and reconstruction of the ‘Vostok’ pipeline that transmits heat to 450 apartment buildings and 29 community facilities located in the southern part of the city. Bishkekteploset JSC, a state-owned utility company that operates the district heating system in Bishkek, will implement this component of the project.

Besides rehabilitating the district heating system in Bishkek, the project will also help about 14,000 low income households in remote rural areas to switch to efficient and clean heating stoves. It will also improve energy efficiency in about 21 public buildings such as schools, kindergartens, and hospitals. These components will be implemented by the Community Development and Investment Agency.

“Access to reliable and adequate heating is critical for the wellbeing of Kyrgyz people,” says Bolormaa Amgaabazar, World Bank Country Manager for the Kyrgyz Republic. “The situation in the heating sector requires urgent measures, and we are glad to support the Kyrgyz government in its efforts to address the challenges that this vital sector is facing.”

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