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Major Industrial and Energy Projects for Uzbekistan

On April 8th, Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev attended a launch ceremony for the construction of two major industry and energy projects in the Jizzakh region. The first, in the Gallyaaral district, comprises an industrial zone specializing in metallurgy. Encompassing a customs warehouse and 7 projects worth $500 million, the new zone will manufacture various fittings, steel balls, pipes, automobile bodies, and provide 5,000 jobs. The second project to be established in the Farish district in collaboration with China Poly Group and China Electric, is a large 500-megawatt solar power plant. With investment of $350 million, the plant will generate 1.1 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity per annum and improve the supply of energy to 450,000 households. The first 200 megawatts will be put into operation later this year. It was announced at the ceremony that in the coming years, additional thermal, wind and solar power plants with a total capacity of 1,660 megawatts will be built in the Jizzakh region. The new facilities will improve the standard of living of the local population and provide a new impetus to the region’s economic development.

Green Energy as a New Driver of Uzbekistan’s Economy

At a government meeting chaired by President Shavkat Mirziyoyev on February 28th, it was announced that in 2024, Uzbekistan will produce 13 billion kilowatt-hours of green energy via hydro, wind, and solar power plants, to generate 15% of the country’s electricity. For decades, natural gas, oil products, and coal have fuelled Uzbekistan’s electricity but in recent years, the country’s natural gas has severely depleted. In 2023, Uzbekistan registered a reduction in the production by more than 4.5 billion cubic meters, necessitating the need to import natural gas from Russia through Kazakhstan. Official statistics also recorded a decrease in the country’s oil production. At yesterday’s meeting, it was stated that the country’s potential for solar and wind energy is 10-12 times higher than the current demand for electricity. In response, the government has launched major programs to create green energy with attractive packages for investors. To date, the renewable energy sector has attracted $2.1 billion in direct foreign investment enabling the implementation of projects worth $13 billion. Solar and wind power plants are currently under construction across the country, with nine solar and wind power plants with a total capacity of 1.6 gigawatts already launched in Bukhara, Jizzakh, Kashkadarya, Navoi, Samarkand, and Surkhandarya. Rooftop solar panels with a total capacity of 457 megawatts have also been installed in commercial, public, and residential buildings. When combined, these new measures produce an additional 5 billion kilowatt-hours of green electricity to the national grid and save 1.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas. President Mirziyoyev confirmed that the government has commissioned the following to be completed over the next three years: 28 solar and wind power plants with a total capacity of 8 gigawatts, 944 kilometers of high-voltage power lines, six large substations and 18 energy storage facilities with a total capacity of 2.2 gigawatts. He also emphasized that apart from the obvious benefits to the environment, the sector’s demand from local enterprises for solar panels, transformers and other related products has resulted in green energy becoming a new driver of the national economy.

EBRD Helps Increase Reliability of Tajikistan’s Electrical Grid

An announcement was made on February 28th that the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is to increase the reliability and sustainability of electricity supply in Tajikistan. The national transmission network operator Shabaqahoi Intiqoli Barq (SIB) will be awarded some €31 million, comprising two EBRD sovereign loans and an investment grant of up to €8 million to help restore the existing transformer and construct a new one at the Sugd-500 substation in the north of the country. The northern Tajikistan power system depends on the 500 kV Sugd-Dushanbe high-voltage line connected to the Sugd-500 substation. Once upgraded and expanded, the substation will allow for a more sustainable electrical grid able to meet domestic and export demands. It will also help SIB integrate up to 700 MW of renewables in line with Tajikistan’s 2030 National Development Strategy to diversify its energy production. In 2023, Tajikistan’s energy capacity exceeded 6,000 megawatts, and electricity production amounted to 22 billion kilowatt-hours; 4.8 billion kilowatt-hours or 28% more than in 2017. Addressing the issue last December, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon announced that the government was making sound progress in its strategy to establish a ‘green economy’. To achieve this goal, he explained that over the next seven years, Tajikistan aims to increase electricity exports to 10 billion kilowatt-hours, and by 2030, the construction of power plants employing renewable energy sources will increase the production of green energy to 1,000 megawatts. Looking ahead, the country aims to source all its electricity from renewable sources, primarily hydropower, by 2023.

Kazakhstan Seeks to Tap Huge Wind Power Potential

Kazakhstan may soon become one of the world leaders in wind power generation, the country’s Minister of Energy, Almasadam Satkaliev told a parliamentary commission on February 23rd. According to the minister, as the world’s ninth-largest country, Kazakhstan has significant potential for the development of the renewable energy sector, with its vast territory highly suited to wind and solar power generation. Kazakhstan’s climate is favorable for the construction of wind power plants as the country has wind corridors with wind speeds of more than five meters per second, a requirement for the operation of turbines. Experts estimate the potential of wind energy in Kazakhstan at 920 billion kWh per year. The Caspian Region, south Kazakhstan, and the Shelek Corridor and Dzhungar Gate located in the southeast have the most potential. The minister also noted the possibilities for the utilization of solar energy. The southern regions of the country see 2,200-3,000 hours of sun per year, among the most in the world. The best areas for solar generation are the Aral Sea region and south Kazakhstan. In 2023, Kazakhstan consumed 115 billion kWh of electrical energy, compared with 112.9 billion kWh in 2022, and produced 112.8 billion kWh, the same amount as in 2022. Last year Kazakhstan imported 3.4 billion kWh, and exported 1.4 billion kWh. In 2024, the country plans to generate 115 billion kWh. According to the minister, renewable energy has shown steady growth, and since 2014 its capacity has increased more than 16-fold — from 178 MW in 2014 to 2,868 MW in 2023. In 2023, the volume of electricity generated by renewable energy facilities amounted to 6.675 billion kWh, including 3.8 billion kWh from wind power plants, 1.8 billion kWh from solar plants, and 993.8 million kWh from hydropower plants. That accounted for 5.9% of the total electricity generation in the country. Kazakhstan’s goal is to achieve a 15% share of renewable energy sources in power generation by 2030, and a 50% share by 2050.

Kazakhstan and Japan to Cooperate in Low-Carbon Development

On January 9th the Minister of Energy of Kazakhstan, Almasadam Satkaliev, and the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan, Ken Saito, signed a memorandum of cooperation in the field of low-carbon development and interaction in energy transition, the Ministry of Energy of Kazakhstan has stated. The document is aimed at strengthening cooperation in the use of energy resources and technologies, including energy conservation and renewable energy sources consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement. The Minister of Energy of Kazakhstan said that Kazakhstan and Japan are already successfully cooperating in the fields of uranium, oil and gas production, and are also introducing Japanese technologies at energy facilities. The parties reached an agreement to prepare a list of potential projects for joint implementation in the energy sector, including in the field of electric power and renewable energy sources. One such project is for wind power using a 500 MW battery energy storage system in Kazakhstan. The parties also agreed to strengthen their interaction in priority areas in the energy sector, including the implementation of sustainable development goals.

Uzbekistan and China: Cooperation in Ecology

A meeting was held at the Ministry of Ecology, Environmental Protection and Climate Change to discuss the prospects of cooperation and strategic partnership between China and Uzbekistan in the field of ecology and environmental protection. Important issues, including a number of promising projects based on the idea of constructing buildings that meet the principles of energy efficiency and environmental cleanliness were deliberated upon. In addition, the active introduction of green technologies and the development of strategies to recycle household and solid waste, including the recycling of batteries and the prevention of air pollution were proposed. Such projects are oriented towards the creation of a sustainable and environmentally friendly infrastructure, and reducing the negative impact on the climate. The meeting also focused on the establishment of global environmental standards, the widespread use of digital technologies, and studying China's experience in the field of ecology and creating mechanisms for environmental protection. At the meeting, China's best practices in the greening of barren desert areas was discussed. China is successfully implementing innovative methods, including the creation of specialized farms for planting seedlings. Measures to attract investors to implement the latest technologies in the systematic treatment of urban wastewater was also on the agenda. The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources provided valuable information on the activities the government is actively pursuing to ensure the sustainable development of various sectors, including important work on environmental protection. In addition, the parties discussed the establishment of a national taxonomy of green projects and the establishment of a Green Fund. As a result of the meeting, the parties agreed to hold additional negotiations on these issues, emphasizing their intent and commitment to find the best solutions available.

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