Kyrgyz Republic: Urban Transport Electrification Project

Sovereign Project | 54123-001

The proposed project will jumpstart a long-term transition towards a zero tailpipe-emission transport sector in the Kyrgyz Republic. It will comprise four interlinked outputs: (i) zero-emission tailpipe bus fleet in Bishkek municipality upgraded; (ii) bus depot infrastructure upgraded; (iii) pilot green mobility corridor established; and (iv) Bishkek bus operation sustainability improved. The project is economically justified by the reduced need for fossil fuel imports, vehicle operating cost savings, better air quality, and reduced carbon emissions, which will promote energy security, improve public health, and contribute to climate change mitigation. The project will also make Bishkek more livable and foster gender equity.

Project Details

  • Project Officer
    Vogel, Johannes E.
    Central and West Asia Department
    Request for information
  • Country
    Kyrgyz Republic
  • Sector
    • Energy
Project Name Urban Transport Electrification Project
Project Number 54123-001
Country Kyrgyz Republic
Project Status Proposed
Project Type / Modality of Assistance Grant
Loan
Source of Funding / Amount
Grant: Urban Transport Electrification Project
Asian Development Fund US$ 25.00 million
High Level Technology Fund US$ 650,000.00
Loan: Urban Transport Electrification Project
Concessional ordinary capital resources lending US$ 25.00 million
Strategic Agendas Environmentally sustainable growth
Inclusive economic growth
Drivers of Change Gender Equity and Mainstreaming
Governance and capacity development
Knowledge solutions
Partnerships
Private sector development
Sector / Subsector

Energy / Energy efficiency and conservation

Transport / Urban public transport

Gender Equity and Mainstreaming Effective gender mainstreaming
Description The proposed project will jumpstart a long-term transition towards a zero tailpipe-emission transport sector in the Kyrgyz Republic. It will comprise four interlinked outputs: (i) zero-emission tailpipe bus fleet in Bishkek municipality upgraded; (ii) bus depot infrastructure upgraded; (iii) pilot green mobility corridor established; and (iv) Bishkek bus operation sustainability improved. The project is economically justified by the reduced need for fossil fuel imports, vehicle operating cost savings, better air quality, and reduced carbon emissions, which will promote energy security, improve public health, and contribute to climate change mitigation. The project will also make Bishkek more livable and foster gender equity.
Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy

The Kyrgyz Republic is rich in renewable energy resources. It produces more than 91% of its electricity from hydropower and, despite its vast hydropower capacity of 3,068 megawatts, untapped technical potential is estimated to be more than 10 times this amount. Despite its wealth in hydro resources, the Kyrgyz Republic is heavily dependent on the import of fossil fuels, with about 90% of the country's domestic demand for gasoline, diesel, and compressed natural gas (CNG) being imported. In 2019, the Kyrgyz Republic spent more than $900 million or 11.1% of its national gross domestic product on the import of fossil fuels, exposing the country to significant price fluctuations in the international oil and gas markets.

Bishkek, the capital and economic center of the Kyrgyz Republic, accounts for 40% of the country's gross domestic product, and is home to one-sixth of the Kyrgyz Republic's population. Since 2000, the city has experienced average annual population growth of 1.5%, reaching 1.02 million inhabitants in 2019. This growth has brought a rapid increase in motorization, fuel consumption, traffic congestion, and resulting combustion emissions of local air pollutants and greenhouse gases (GHGs).

Since 2005, passenger car density in Bishkek has quintupled, with 480,000 of the 1.2 million registered vehicles nationwide located in the capital region. From 2011 to 2016, the national consumption of petroleum products and CNG increased by 27.8%, underlining the growing economic burden and fuel import dependency caused by the country's resource-intensive transport sector. As most vehicles are more than 20 years old and run on low-quality fuel without regular technical inspections, the increase in urban motor vehicles has led to a significant deterioration in air quality. In 2018, during the nonheating season, the average concentration of major air pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and fine particulate matter of less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter (PM2.5) reached a monthly mean of 55.7 microgram per cubic meter ( g/m3) for NO2 and 16.7 g/m3 for PM2.5 far exceeding the air quality guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO). In December 2020, air quality in Bishkek was rated as _very unhealthy,_ with recorded PM2.5 levels of 184 g/m ; a value more than 18 times above the WHO recommended air quality threshold.

The transport sector is responsible for 75% of air pollution in Bishkek (footnote 3), and WHO estimates that outdoor air pollution causes about 400 premature deaths annually. As buses cause about half of transport related PM2.5 and NO2 emissions in Bishkek, the public transport segment has been identified as a major contributor to air pollution.

A major reason for the high emission contribution of public transport is the large number of outdated minibuses, which dominate public transport in the capital. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, chronic underfunding has led to the downsizing of the city's municipality-owned large bus fleet resulting in the rapid emergence of private sector minibus operators. Since 1989, the number of municipality-operated large buses has declined from 617 to 313 units. In contrast, minibuses operating in the city have increased from 450 to more than 4,071 vehicles during the same period, successively taking over routes from public service providers. Compared with 1989, minibus operators have expanded their services from 20 routes to 106 routes, while the route system covered by the two municipality-owned companies has decreased from 66 routes to 25 routes (footnote 9). Despite passengers' preference for the safer, more comfortable, and lower-cost large public buses, the lack of vehicles, reduced service frequency, and limited routes have forced passengers onto the expanding fleet of minibuses.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), since 2011 has supported Bishkek Municipal Government by procuring a total of 131 large trolleybuses. The limited interventions of EBRD since 2011 have not been able to stop the trend of an increasingly dominant role of privately-operated minibuses in Bishkek's public transport sector. Large trolleybuses procured in the scope of EBRD's recent programs have low emissions, but their operations are restricted to only established routes where catenary system exists and thus cannot provide the operational flexibility to compete.

The proposed modernization of Bishkek's large bus fleet, with state-of-the-art large battery electric buses (BEBs), is a move to address the chronic issues of public buses to enable a shift away from the unsafe, overcrowded, and highly polluting minibuses. To determine the most suitable technology for the upgrade of Bishkek's public transport system, a detailed comparative analysis of different technologies was conducted, which identified fast-charging BEBs as the most suitable and economical technology option (footnote 6). Compared with diesel, CNG, conventional trolleybuses, and hybrid trolleybuses, fast-charging BEBs have the lowest total cost of ownership (TCO) per kilometer (km).

About 500,000 BEBs operate worldwide. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, by 2025, half of the world's municipality bus fleet will be electric. The underlying driver for this explosive growth is the rapid decline in lithium-ion battery prices, which fell 85% from 2010 to 2018 and are forecasted to decrease another 65% by 2030 compared with 2018. BEBs, over the past years, have been established as a mature and proven technology unifying a multitude of positive benefits. BEBs (i) are up to four times as energy-efficient as conventional fossil-fuel buses; (ii) have up to 40% lower operation and maintenance (O&M) costs; (iii) have zero tailpipe combustion emissions of major air pollutants, such as PM2.5, nitrogen oxide (NOx), and sulfur dioxide (SO2); (vi) have a longer lifetime; and (v) with a high renewable energy share in the power mix, facilitate a long-term decarbonization of the transport sector.

The Kyrgyz Republic's transport sector accounts for 28% of national GHG emissions. As the country has a very low grid emission factor (0.13 kilograms of carbon dioxide [CO2] per kilowatt-hour), electrification of the sector could contribute significantly to the country's climate target of reducing GHG emissions by 11.5% 13.8% by 2030 compared with business as usual (footnote 3). The project will contribute to help Kyrgyz Republic meet its international climate commitments.

Acknowledging the benefits of electric vehicles, the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic declared the transition to environment-friendly modes of transport one of its top policy priorities in its National Development Strategy, 2018 2040. To stimulate the adoption of electric vehicles, numerous tax and duty exemptions on electric vehicles and related charging infrastructure have been proposed and implemented. In addition, the government introduced a preferential electricity tariff for public electric vehicle charging in March 2020.

The project constitutes a technological innovation to the Kyrgyz Republic and will improve the efficiency and stability of the power system and the safety of the public transport system. The state-of-the-art battery technology and its fast-charging capability will allow for a maximum degree of operational flexibility. BEBs can be recharged from 20% to 80% of battery state of charge in less than 30 minutes and, unlike existing trolleybuses, can operate independently from existing overhead catenary lines. Compared with the trolleybus system, BEBs (i) are 60% more energy-efficient; (ii) are beneficial to the power system during electricity shortages, as BEBs are only recharged during off-peak hours; (iii) are less affected by localized blackouts; and (iv) assuming a full transition to a 100% BEB system, will make costly investments of an estimated $31 million into the dilapidated catenary system and supporting substations redundant.

By replacing 95 diesel and 25 outdated trolleybuses with BEBs, the project will result in annual net energy import savings of $1,080,000 and economic benefits of $538,000 million (including $86,000 in health benefits). Following the successful deployment of the initial batch of BEBs, the project foresees a modular scale-up of up to 130 additional BEBs. The project will initiate progressive electrification of the Kyrgyz Republic transport sector and, because of its distinctive long-term economic, environmental, and urban transport-related benefits, will have a lasting positive impact on the Kyrgyz Republic.

The project design incorporates lessons from past assistance, notably the need for (i) strong political support and consensus, (ii) thorough project preparation to achieve readiness before project approval, (iii) a flexible payment structure to avoid implementation delays from unreliable counterpart financing, (iv) training on new technology involved in BEBs and charging infrastructure, and (v) the provision of capacity building and consistent monitoring to ensure compliance with the safeguard requirements of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Impact Transition to environmentally friendly modes of transport promoted.
Outcome Environmental, health, and economic impacts of Bishkek's public transport sector reduced
Outputs

Zero-emission tailpipe bus fleet in Bishkek municipality upgraded

Bus depot infrastructure upgraded

Pilot green mobility corridor established

Bishkek bus operation sustainability improved

Geographical Location Bishkek
Safeguard Categories
Environment B
Involuntary Resettlement B
Indigenous Peoples C
Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects
Environmental Aspects
Involuntary Resettlement
Indigenous Peoples
Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation
During Project Design
During Project Implementation
Responsible ADB Officer Vogel, Johannes E.
Responsible ADB Department Central and West Asia Department
Responsible ADB Division Energy Division, CWRD
Executing Agencies
Bishkek City Mayor's Office
166 Chuy Avenue, Bishkek
Ministry of Economy
106, Chui Prospect, Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic
Timetable
Concept Clearance 17 May 2020
Fact Finding 26 May 2020 to 09 Jun 2020
MRM 07 Sep 2020
Approval -
Last Review Mission -
Last PDS Update 17 May 2020

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Title Document Type Document Date
Urban Transport Electrification Project: Initial Poverty and Social Analysis Initial Poverty and Social Analysis May 2020

Safeguard Documents See also: Safeguards
Safeguard documents provided at the time of project/facility approval may also be found in the list of linked documents provided with the Report and Recommendation of the President.


Evaluation Documents See also: Independent Evaluation

None currently available.


Related Publications

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The Access to Information Policy (AIP) establishes the disclosure requirements for documents and information ADB produces or requires to be produced in its operations to facilitate stakeholder participation in ADB's decision-making. For more information, refer to the Safeguard Policy Statement, Operations Manual F1, and Operations Manual L3.

Requests for information may also be directed to the InfoUnit.

Tenders

Tender Title Type Status Posting Date Deadline
L54123-KGZ: Urban Transport Electrification Project [Package 1] Invitation for Bids Active 15 Nov 2021 14 Jan 2022

Contracts Awarded

No contracts awarded for this project were found


Procurement Plan

None currently available.