The government is committed to improving energy efficiency and increasing the share of renewables in the energy mix, in line with nationally determined contributions under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Ministry believes the current energy production system in Uzbekistan could benefit from modernisation and exposure to the latest low-carbon technologies.

Corporate Solutions is modelling Uzbekistan’s energy system and Uzbekistan is also looking at the experience of Germany, Japan and Spain to learn from their low-carbon transitions.

Uzbekistan plans to develop renewable energy sources, including solar, hydropower and wind, to produce electricity with low carbon emissions. Uzbekistan is also building its first nuclear power plant.

A ten-year plan for electricity provision in Uzbekistan was developed with the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank. It aims to deploy up to 30GW of additional power capacity by 2030, including 5GW of PV, 3.8GW of hydropower, 2.4GW of nuclear and up to 3GW of wind energy.

Priority activities outlined include:

  • modernisation and reconstruction of existing power plants
  • construction of new generating assets using energy-efficient power production technologies
  • improved power metering systems
  • fuel diversification and development of renewable energy sources — especially solar PV
  • legal reforms to improve tariff polices and to aid transition to a wholesale market.

These measures aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10% (from 2010 levels) by 2030.

Installed capacity would increase from 12.9GW in 2019 to 29.3GW by 2030, with a corresponding increase in electricity generation from 63.6TWh to 120.8TWh annually, over the same period.

Nuclear power is expected to account for around 8% of the country’s electricity by 2030. Uzbekistan and Russia signed an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy in December 2017, and in September 2018 a further agreement was signed for the construction by Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom of two VVER-1200 reactors with a combined capacity of 2400MW. They are expected to be commissioned in 2028 and 2030, respectively.

Jurabek Mirzamakhmudov, director general of Uzbekistan’s state nuclear agency Uzatom told NEI in June that preparations for the nuclear power project are “on-going” and the coronavirus pandemic has “not affected the implementation schedule.” Engineering surveys continue at a priority site near lake Tuzkan in Jizzakh region, with precautions being taken to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Contract negotiations with Rosatom are also progressing well via videoconferencing to agree the terms of the main contract, Mirzamakhmudov said. Uzbekistan has also requested an International Atomic Energy Agency Integrated nuclear infrastructure review mission in 2020.

To achieve renewable energy targets 3GW of wind and 5GW of solar power plants will be built in 2020-2030.

Large wind farms, with capacities of 100-500MW, will be built mostly in the northwest region of Uzbekistan. Large solar PV plants with capacities of 100-500MW will be built mainly in the central and southern regions, with 50-200MW solar plants in other parts of the country. Solar PV plants above 300MW will gradually be equipped with energy storage systems.

Work is also planned on 62 hydropower projects over the next decade. That includes construction of 35 new hydro power stations (1537MW in total) and the modernisation of 27 existing plants, increasing their capacity by 186MW.

Alisher Sultanov, Uzbekistan’s minister of energy, said: “Our new Concept Note outlines a comprehensive strategy to satisfy the increasing demand for electrical power in Uzbekistan. It also means our power sector’s development will continue in line with international best practice. The strategy is ambitious in scope, but grounded in realism, with practical and achievable goals to reach by 2030.”