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Uzbekistan inaugurates first utility-scale solar plant

A 100MW solar plant, the first utility-scale solar project in Uzbekistan has been inaugurated.

The Nur Navoi project is also Uzbekistan’s first successfully financed independent power producer (IPP) solar plant.

Saudi-based energy firm Masdar partnered with Mubadala Investment to develop the project as part of efforts to ensure energy security in Uzebekistan and to expand the country’s renewable energy portfolio.

When fully operational, the project will power 31,000 households and save 160,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually.

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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 $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 11,500MW of new capacity.”

Mr. Alisher Sultanov, Minister of Energy of Uzbekistan, added: “Uzbekistan has been working closely with the IFIs 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.”

To meet its 2030 renewables target, Uzbekistan plans to expand its solar energy capacity to 7GW and wind capacity to 5GW by 2030.

Some projects including 440MW solar PV projects in Samarkand and Jizzakh regions, a 1 457MW solar system in Surkhandarya province, and a 500MW in Navoi, being developed by Masdar, are expected to help Uzbekistan achieve its solar energy target.

The Uzbek government also plans to launch a training facility to expand its renewable energy workforce in Navoi in 2022.