By Abdul Kerimkhanov
The need to search for alternative types of energy to ensure national security is in the focus of Uzbek authorities. The development of renewable energy sources and the use of these energy sources on an ongoing basis, is considered the key to ensuring sustainable development of the country.
In the next 10 years, Uzbekistan plans to build about 25 solar power plants (SPP), local media reported, citing Sherzod Khadzhayev, the deputy minister of energy of Uzbekistan.
“We plan to build about 25 solar stations by 2030,” said Khadzhayev. He said that the country's first 100 MW solar power plant is scheduled to be commissioned in Navoi Region.
“According to the schedule, we will start construction work this year and complete them within two years,” the media quotes the deputy minister.
Khadzhaev added, in 2019, Uzbekistan plans to generate 67.5 billion kWh of electricity, and the figure is expected to reach 120 billion kWh in 2030.
Earlier it was announced that the first SPP in the country will appear in the Samarkand region. However, the Chinese company Zhuhai Singyes Green Building Technology, which won the tender for the construction of a power plant in 2016, was denied due to “obsolete technologies”.
In 2018, it also became known that the Canadian company SkyPower Global will invest $ 1.3 billion in the SPP construction with a total capacity of 1,000 MW. The facilities are planned to be built in Tashkent, Samarkand, Navoi, Djizak, Surkhandarya and Kashkadarya regions.
The energy company Masdar (Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company PJSC) and the French Total EREN are also interested in this field.
At the same time, German Graess Energy has already begun construction of an SPP in Muinak, a capacity of which will be 20 MW. The German company will invest another $ 24 million in this project.
In Uzbekistan, electricity is produced mainly by burning natural gas, which accounts for about 93 percent in the structure of fuel consumption at Uzbekenergo power plants, the share of renewable energy sources does not exceed 1 percent.
Uzbekistan has extremely favorable opportunities for the development of solar energy in terms of geographical location and climatic conditions. According to expert estimates, the total potential of solar energy in the country exceeds 51 billion tons of oil equivalent.
According to official data, in Uzbekistan until the end of 2030, the demand for energy will increase by 25.5 percent compared with 2013 and will be about 43.5 million tons in oil equivalent, provided GDP growth rates remain at 8-8.5 percent annually.
According to calculations by the Uzbek side, the potential of renewable energy sources in Uzbekistan is about 51 billion tons of oil equivalent, the technical potential is 179.8 billion tons of oil equivalent.
A document was signed on the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency in the economy and social sphere on May 26, 2017. It is aimed, among other things, at involving entrepreneurs in the creation of generating capacities based on solar, wind energy, micro and small HPPs.
The annex to the decree spelled out the relevant measures, including 810 investment projects worth $ 5.3 billion in 2017-2025. From the state budget until 2021 it is planned to allocate more than 314.1 billion soums ( $37.3 billion) to finance energy efficiency measures.
It is expected that by 2025 the share of renewable energy sources in the structure of generating capacity will grow from 12.7 percent to 19.7 percent.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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