Uzbekistan’s Energy Ministry announced on July 12 it has now signed project agreements with Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar) for the two 220 MW photovoltaic solar plants in the Jizzakh and Samarkand regions.
“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,” Uzbekistan’s Energy Minister Alisher Sultanov said. “These projects are key components in our ambitious strategy to develop environmentally friendly renewable sources of energy to meet our growing electricity demand,” he added.
In May 2021, Masdar was awarded the two projects after an open tender overseen by the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
According to the newly signed project agreements, Masdar will produce power for the National Electric Grid of Uzbekistan at record low tariffs of 1.791 US cents/kWh for the Samarkand site and at 1.823 US cents/kWh for the Jizzakh site, for a 25-year period.
According to Uzbekistan’s Energy Ministry, Masdar is expected to invest up to $300 million in these projects with a financial close scheduled for December 2021 and construction anticipated to start in the first quarter of 2022.
The IFC acted as lead transaction advisor, assisted the Government of Uzbekistan to structure the projects and organize the selection of the winning bidder through an open tender process.
These projects are part of a wider scheme between the Government of Uzbekistan and the IFC to develop up to 900 MW of solar energy through public-private partnerships.
These plants also contribute to the Government’s plan to develop 8 GW of solar and wind capacity by 2030. Once implemented, they will develop Uzbekistan’s huge solar potential, help reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by about 500,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent, and generate an additional 1,100 million kWh of electricity.
In the coming month, the Uzbekistan government is planning to launch a Request for Prequalification for up to 500 MW of PV power plants to be tendered out in three different regions, the Energy Ministrybsaid, adding this third round of IFC tendered solar projects will also include a battery storage component for one of the sites.