Uzbekistan is putting its faith in renewable energy

The country’s first solar power plant, the $100 million, 100MW Nur Navoi solar farm, debuted in late August, as Uzbekistan pushes for carbon neutrality by the year 2050 and regional supremacy in renewable energy. Previously, the state depended on burning its very own gas to produce energy, but wind and solar power are now more affordable. Uzbekistan expects to produce more than 25% of the electricity from the renewable sources by the year 2030, thanks to its 320 days of sunshine each year. This transition is also seen as having the ability to help the economy, according to officials. Uzbekistan’s deputy prime minister, Jamshid Kuchkarov, says, “We see our opportunity in the green economy.” “We need some leapfrogging to get into the upper-middle-income countries. And we see an opportunity to make a leap in the green economy and the digital economy.” “We see a lot of potential in solar energy, and we’re going to push it. It’s not just stylish, but it also makes financial logic for us,” he says.

According to analysts, the method could assist the country in overcoming power outages, which have long impacted the economy and daily life. Nur Navoi, which was created in collaboration with Masdar, a Mubadala sovereign wealth fund division in the United Arab Emirates, is the first of 19 renewable energy projects worth $6.5 billion in Uzbekistan planned over the next five years, as per President Shavkat Mirziyoyev. With a rapidly growing population of 34 million people and a booming economy, the government anticipates an almost 50% increase in power demand within the next five years, to 100 billion kilowatt-hours per year.

In a statement, Mirziyoyev added, “We have very substantial ambitions for new reforms and initiatives in the electric power industry.” “In the twenty-first century, the renewable energy sources and green economy will be the foundation of sustainable economic development, and our renewable proportion of electricity generation will approach 30% by 2030,” he continued. Nur Navoi was Uzbekistan’s first solar power facility with public-private cooperation. According to European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, it was designed, financed, and built by Masdar and received up to $60 billion in loans from European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, as well as similar sums from the International Finance Corporation and the Asian Development Bank.

Masdar intends to fund and construct three more solar plants in Uzbekistan, that the UAE firm views as a vital investment. It is also building Central Asia’s largest wind plant, which is expected to generate 1.5GW per year by 2024. Uzbekistan, too, is relying on hydropower, with 62 projects planned for new construction and rehabilitation. As per the 2020 energy ministry policy, these plants are planned to generate 13% of the overall energy mix by 2030. Overall, this approach envisions Uzbekistan generating 45 percent of the electricity from natural gas-fired power plants, 17 percent from solar power plants, 8% from nuclear power plants, and 6% from coal.

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