The Asian Development Bank has approved a US$50.65 million financing package to help the Kyrgyz Republic buy electric buses for its capital city Bishkek. The Urban Transport Electrification Project, which comprises a US$25 million loan, a US$25 million grant, and US$650,000 in co-financing from the High-Level Technology Fund, will finance the purchase of 120 battery-electric buses that will replace outdated diesel and trolleybuses.
The project will also upgrade the infrastructure of two trolleybus depots, and establish a 3.5-kilometre green mobility pilot corridor to increase bus speed, and improve service reliability of public transport in the Bishkek city centre.
The transport sector is a major contributor to air pollution in Bishkek. The soaring number of urban passenger vehicles and minibuses has led to a significant deterioration of air quality over the past years. Despite its considerable potential for renewable energy, the Kyrgyz Republic relies heavily on imported fossil fuel for transportation, with the transport sector accounting for 28% of national greenhouse gas emissions.
“ADB is ready to support the Kyrgyz Republic to improve air quality, enhance energy security, address traffic congestion, and help the country meet its nationally determined contributions under the Paris Agreement,” says ADB director general for Central and West Asia Eugene Zhukov. “Aligned with ADB’s Strategy 2030, the project will help the government implement its National Development Strategy, 2018–2040, which declared the transition to environmentally friendly modes of transport one of its top policy priorities.”
The newly introduced electric bus fleet will use domestically produced renewable energy, benefiting from one of the greenest grids in the Central Asian region.