Masdar to expand capacity of wind farm project in Uzbekistan

The wind farm will be largest in Central Asia and is expected to attract investments of up to $600m

March 15, 2012 (Uzbekistan) A fruit and vegetable market in Tashkent Uzbekistan March 15, 2012.  (Sammy Dallal / The National)
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Abu Dhabi renewable energy company Masdar agreed to extend the capacity of a utility-scale wind farm project in Uzbekistan to as much as 1.5 gigawatts.

The agreement to scale up capacity builds on an earlier bilateral arrangement with the Central Asian state to develop a 500 Megawatt wind farm project.

Masdar signed an implementation agreement on the wind project on Friday.

The wind farm, the second-largest utility-scale project in the country, will be the largest in Central Asia and is expected to attract investments of up to $600 million.

The expansion of capacity at the wind project located in the Zarafshan district of Uzbekistan's southwestern Navoi region will help the country reach its goals of generating 3GW of power from wind energy by the end of the decade.

The former Soviet state plans to generate 25 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by the end of the decade.

"We have an unprecedented opportunity to leverage our collective climate action to enhance sustainable growth in Uzbekistan, while making real progress on global climate goals," said Dr Sultan Al Jaber, the UAE's special envoy for climate change and minister of industry and advanced technology.

The 500MW of capacity at Zarafshan will begin commercial operation by the end of 2024 and can power up to 500,000 homes.

Masdar signed power purchase and investment agreements on the project with the Uzbek ministry of investments and foreign trade and the country's SC National Electric Grid last year.

Masdar reached financial closure in December on a 100MW solar photovoltaic plant in Uzbekistan – the country's first independent power producer.

The project was financed by the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation, the Asian Development Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Uzbekistan has become a hotspot for renewable energy investment from key Middle East players.

On Thursday, Saudi Arabia's Acwa Power secured financing for a $1 billion combined cycle gas-turbine power plant in the former Soviet state.

The 1,500 megawatt project, once completed, is expected to meet 15 per cent of power demand in Uzbekistan and offset 2.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year.