The proposed Samarkand Solar Power Project (the Project) aims to increase renewable energy generation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in Uzbekistan. The Project has two main components: (i) construction of a 100 megawatt (MW) grid-connected crystalline photovoltaic (PV) power plant with single axis tracking system; (ii) institutional capacity building on solar energy and grid integration, and (iii) project management and supervision.
Uzbekistan has among the highest energy and carbon intensities in the world, both over six times the world average, calling for drastic increases in energy efficiency and renewable energy to reduce GHG emissions. Despite the huge potential, renewable energy supplies less than 11% of the country's power demand, and only hydro resources are being tapped. Over 89% of Uzbekistan's 12.6 gigawatts (GW) of installed capacity are conventional thermal power plants fueled by natural gas (76%), fuel oil (7%), and coal (6%). Half of this fossil-based energy is generated in power plants built before 1982, with only 10% generated in power plants built after 1997. Moreover, total grid losses is about 20%, due in part to long distance transmission and distribution. While Uzbekistan is almost 100% electrified, the demand supply gap leaves many provinces, including Samarkand, with intermittent power. In addition, the domestic consumption of gas equals lost export revenues, estimated at over $900 million for 2012 alone.
The Project's impact is improved sustainability of the energy supply in Uzbekistan, and the outcome is increased renewable energy generation in Uzbekistan. The Project has two main outputs: (i) construction of a 100 MW on-grid crystalline PV power plant, transmission and support facilities; and (ii) capacity building, project management and supervision support for Uzbekenergo.
|Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy
To address the high energy and carbon intensities, the government through its Welfare Improvement Strategy I and II, mandated reduced domestic gas use through energy efficiency and renewable energy, especially solar. Presidential Decree 4512 mandated the creation of high-technology solar industries. With Uzbekistan's solar irradiance (at over 1,800 kilowatt-hours per square meter) on par with leading countries, solar energy is deemed the most sustainable source that could provide a significant share in the power mix.
The first of its kind and scale in Central Asia, the project will bring Uzbekistan closer to its vision of becoming the region's solar technology and knowledge hub. Uzbekistan's solar energy development road map envisions at least 21% renewable capacity by 2031, including at least 4 GW of solar capacity. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved a capacity development technical assistance (TA) that helped Uzbekistan create the International Solar Energy Institute (ISEI) to link research with industry. Another ADB TA project is conducting feasibility studies for up to six solar power projects. Measurements of solar and weather data are ongoing at the six sites to validate models based on 12 years of historical satellite data. The TA (i) conducted technical, financial and economic, governance, safeguards, and due diligence for the project; (ii) developed the solar energy development road map; and (iii) assisted ISEI in the design of its photovoltaic certification laboratory and test bed facility. A project preparation TA will assist in the preparation and procurement of bidding documents. Expected to generate 159 GW hours (GWh) of clean energy, the project will avoid 88,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent GHG emissions per year. By supplying electricity where it is consumed, the project will reduce grid losses.
The project is aligned with ADB's Strategy 2020, and with a key pillar of the Energy Policy 2009. The project directly supports Uzbekistan's clean energy and energy security targets as prioritized under the country partnership strategy, 2012 -2016 for Uzbekistan and is identified in the country operations business plan, 2012 2014 for Uzbekistan