Masdar launches 100MW solar project in Uzbekistan
Masdar, the subsidiary of Mubadala Investment Company, and global renewable energy company, has inaugurated the Nur Navoi Solar Project, Uzbekistan’s first successfully financed Independent Power Producer (IPP) solar project.
According to a statement by the energy company, the 100-megawatt photovoltaic (PV) plant is Uzbekistan’s first utility-scale solar project. It has begun energisation and has made its first contribution to the country’s renewable energy targets. Once fully operational, the plant will produce enough power for 31,000 households, and will displace around 150,000 tonnes of CO2 each year.
Nur Navoi is the first Masdar project to begin operations in Uzbekistan, with the company having committed to a number of other solar and wind projects across the Central Asian country. The launch of the project follows a 2019 agreement between Masdar and the government of the Republic of Uzbekistan, and the National Electric Grid of Uzbekistan (NEGU) to design, finance, build, own and operate the solar plant.
Nur Navoi Solar FE LLC was established by Masdar as the local project company to deliver the PV plant, and to operate and maintain it over a 25-year period.
In July of this year, the company signed agreements to develop two PV projects in the country, for a combined capacity of 440MW. Commercial operation of those projects, which will be located in the Samarkand and Jizzakh regions of the country, are expected to begin in the first quarter of 2023.
Speaking during the inauguration ceremony, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, said: "In the next five years, we plan to increase our economy's growth rate by 1.5 times, and bring GDP to at least USD$100 billion.
“Thousands of new industrial enterprises, both medium and large will be launched, and electricity demand is set to reach 100 billion kilowatt-hours - 30 billion more than now. Therefore, we have very big plans for new reforms and projects in the electric power industry. In the next five years, 19 projects worth $6.5 billion will be launched to create 11,500 MW of new capacity."
He added that Masdar had won the tender for another solar project in the country – a 457MW photovoltaic solar plant in the Sherabad district of the Surkhandarya province. Furthermore, the renewable energy giant has initially agreed to develop, build and operate a 500MW wind farm in Zarafshan. In April this year, the company said it had signed an Implementation Agreement with the Uzbekistani government to extend the capacity of the project to up to 1.5 gigawatts (GW), making it the largest in Central Asia.
HE Alisher Sultanov, Minister of Energy for the Republic of Uzbekistan, said: "Uzbekistan has been working closely with the IFC to open up the country's power sector to private investment and to help us reach our goal of 25% of energy consumption deriving from renewable sources by 2030.
“We have a huge variety of projects underway, and already completed. It is my great pleasure to update audiences on our progress. Uzbekistan is committed to policy goals to improve energy efficiency and increase renewable energy's share of the country's energy mix."
As part of its renewable energy programme, Uzbekistan aims to deploy 5GW of solar and 3GW of wind power capacity by the year 2030. It targets meeting 25% of its electricity needs from renewable energy resources by that year.
Earlier this month, the Uzbek government said that it was considering raising the energy targets to 7GW for solar, and 5GW for wind.
HE Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, UAE Special Envoy for Climate Change, and Chairman of Masdar, added: "Renewable energy will deliver a cleaner and more sustainable future for Uzbekistan, and enable it to contribute to global action on climate change.
“This project, and the other solar and wind projects Masdar is building across Uzbekistan, will also power a new phase of industrial growth, and provide rewarding careers for thousands of Uzbek people. Importantly, they demonstrate Uzbekistan's leadership in clean energy in the region. As we approach COP 26, in this crucial decade for climate, this is a vital mission, and one which the UAE is honoured to support."
Masdar has a portfolio of wind and solar projects that have a total capacity of around 2.6GW across the country, making Uzbekistan a key strategic investment destination.