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 three 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 (iii) project management and supervision support.
Uzbekistan has among the highest energy and carbon intensities in the world, both over 6 times the world average. Despite the huge potential, renewable energy supplies only 11% of the country''s power demand, and only from hydro resources. Over 89% of Uzbekistan''s 12.3 gigawatts (GW) of installed capacity are conventional thermal power plants (TPPs) 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. The inefficient power generation is exacerbated by grid losses of 20%, due in part to long distance transmission and distribution. While Uzbekistan is almost 100% electrified, the demand-supply gap (16% unmet demand in 2008) leaves many provinces with intermittent power and has resulted in increased use of and dependence on diesel generators. Some areas in Samarkand have grid electricity for only 1-2 hours in winter, and 16-18 hours in summer, affecting access to education and potable water. With Uzbekistan's demand increasing rapidly, the country's fossil-fuel reserves (reserve to production ratio of 10-12 years for oil, 28-30 years for natural gas, and 40-50 years for coal) will deplete faster. More importantly, the domestic consumption of subsidized gas equals lost export revenues, estimated at $916 million for 2012 alone.
The Project's impact is improved energy security in Uzbekistan, and the outcome is increased renewable energy generation in Uzbekistan.
|Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy
The first of its kind in Central Asia, the project will bring Uzbekistan closer to its vision of becoming the region's solar technology and knowledge hub. Targeting 20% renewable by 2030, Uzbekistan has an ambitious plan to install up to 2 GW of solar capacity.
An ADB policy and advisory TA (PATA) conducted feasibility studies for six solar power projects, the ensuing Project being the first. Onsite measurements of solar and weather data were done in six sites. Energy yield models based on 11-year historical satellite data and validated by ground data were used for the feasibility studies. The PATA also formulated a solar energy development roadmap and proposed enabling policy and regulatory frameworks such as feed-in-tariffs, renewable portfolio standards, and private sector participation, in the medium-term to enable Uzbekistan to reach its targets. Current tariffs are not cost-reflective with 97% of Uzbekistan's energy sector owned by a 100% state-owned utility, SJSC Uzbekenergo.
The Project is aligned with ADB's Strategy 2020 and with a key pillar of the Energy Policy 2009. The Project directly supports Uzbekistan clean energy and energy security targets as prioritized under the ADB Uzbekistan Country Partnership Strategy for 2012-2016 and is identified in the ADB Uzbekistan Country Operations Business Plan 2012-2014.