How Masdar has backed Uzbekistan’s bold energy transition from the start

20 NOV 2023
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At the heart of the ancient silk route, a very modern transformation is taking place.

Uzbekistan, a Central Asian nation with a population of over 35 million, is taking bold steps to move away from traditional energy sources.

The government plans to meet a quarter of the country’s energy needs from renewables by 2030. Masdar, one of the world's leading renewable energy companies, has been supporting this aim by developing landmark solar, wind and battery energy storage projects across Uzbekistan.

Energy usage predominantly has been powered by thermal power plants,

said Bekhzod Zaripov, Plant Team Leader at Masdar.

The increasing demand for energy usage in Uzbekistan has shown that there is a market for renewable energy.

I’ve been working for 10 years in the oil and gas industry. There has to be a change in the sources of energy and I am very proud to be part of the change that Masdar is leading.

Masdar, the UAE’s clean energy powerhouse, began operating in Uzbekistan in 2019. At that time, Uzbekistan’s share of energy capacity from solar and wind was non-existent. Thermal plants and hydropower accounted for the nation’s total installed electricity generation capacity of 12.9 GW.

Today, Masdar has renewable energy projects in Uzbekistan with a total capacity of over 3.75 GW which are either operational or under development. Milestone projects include Central Asia’s largest wind farm, the 500MW capacity Zarafshan project. Due for completion in 2024, the plant will power half a million homes and displace 1.1 million tonnes of carbon every year.

Uzbekistan’s first successfully-financed independent power producer (IPP) solar project – the 100 MW Nur Navoi Solar project, was installed by Masdar. Operational since 2021, it powers 31,000 homes and displaces 150,000 tonnes of carbon emissions a year.

“Whenever we mention renewable energy projects, we always say the first ever project in any solar, wind or battery comes with Masdar,” said Abdullajon Otaboev, Department Director from the Ministry of Energy.

Abundant in sunshine and wind, Uzbekistan is a key strategic market for Masdar, which has more than 17 years of experience in renewables. As well as helping to meet Uzbekistan’s decarbonization goals, Masdar’s projects are also bringing employment to communities. During the construction phase, the Zarafshan project will create 1,000 jobs, said Fernando Villanueva, Senior Program Manager, Masdar.

Further opportunities appear on the horizon. Masdar has achieved financial close on three solar projects in Uzbekistan, with a combined capacity of around 900 MW. These projects will form the largest solar development program in Central Asia. And In May, Masdar signed agreements with the government to develop a further 2GW of solar and wind and 500 MWh of battery storage across the country.

Centuries ago, Uzbekistan played a key role in linking global trade. Now, as the world undergoes another seismic transformation, the country continues to make history on its bold clean energy journey.