Uzbekistan: Total Eren’s solar plant fully funded
On May 10, Total Eren’s project to install a large-scale solar plant in Uzbekistan received monetary support from three international institutions, including the European Investment Bank. The project announced in 2018 is now ready to launch.
This article was originally published on Novastan’s French website on 17 May 2021.
It is financing that should finalize the launch of Total’s solar plant in Uzbekistan. On May 10, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) revealed that the Uzbek government had received €87,4 million (£72,3 million) aid to finance the construction of the French group’s plant.
This financial aid will contribute to the construction of a 100-megawatt solar power plant near the city of Samarkand, in eastern Uzbekistan. The construction supervisor is Tutly Solar LLC, a group owned by Total Eren, itself a subsidiary of the French oil giant Total. Tutly published a technical report describing the numerous aspects and implications of this project.
Three organizations participated in the financial assistance: the EBRD, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and Proparco, the subsidiary of the French Development Agency (AFD). The loan granted by the EIB amounts to €43,7 million (£36.2 million), whereas the two others have invested about €21,8 million each (£18,6 million).
Once the plant is set up, the electricity will be sold to the national Uzbek power supplier under a 25-year purchase agreement. The country has high potential in the solar energy sector, which is growing fast in Central Asia.
300 jobs created
In a commentary to Novastan, Total Eren stated it had selected Uzbekistan for several reasons. Uzbekistan is the most populated country in Central Asia, and it benefits from high quality solar and wind resources, coupled with a notably stable and balanced economy.
The group has also highlighted the fact that the Uzbek government is actively trying to expand the renewable energy market. With this in mind, they created a favourable economic environment for investments and have directly supported Total Eren’s project. All in all, Total Eren estimates that this project will create more than 300 new constructing jobs and 15 permanent positions. The solar plant could also be the first of many projects of this kind in the country.
A step towards the development of renewable energies
However, most of the benefits of the project obviously lie in energy production. On 4 May 2020, Uzbekistan has set up a reinforcement plan to meet the ever-growing needs in energy and the diversification of energy production. According to the EBRD, the construction of the solar plant should reduce the annual greenhouse gas emissions by 160 000 tonnes of CO2 and produce 270 GWh of electricity per year.
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More broadly, the solar plant aims to “achieve carbon neutrality of the power sector by 2050, as well as to make sure this development is consistent with the commitments made under the Paris Agreement “, as explained by Nadita Parshad, Managing Director of the EBRD’s Sustainable Infrastructure Group.
“Tutly is an investment in local economic development and the future of our planet“, says Teresa Czerwińska, EIB Vice-President responsible for operations in Uzbekistan, in her statement.
The project is also in line with the 17 sustainable development goals set by the UN in 2015 for the year 2030. The list involves, among others, the use and accessibility of renewable energy, community sustainability and infrastructure innovations.
A long-standing project
The future solar power plant is one of the first renewable energy projects in the private sector in Uzbekistan. The solar plant initiative goes back to 5 October 2018, when Total Eren had first negotiations with the national electricity company, Uzbekenergo. On 13 September 2019, the project became a reality, when the Uzbek national electric network signed the electricity sales contract. Finally, a decree was signed on 13 May 2020 by Uzbek president, Shavkat Mirziyoyev.
Uzbekistan’s cooperation with foreign countries in the renewable energy sector is not unprecedented. On 8 June, the Uzbek Ministry of Investment and Foreign Trade announced that the UAE company Masdar will build a large-scale wind power plant.
On the French side, ties with Uzbekistan in this area are pretty strong. On 25 May 2020, Uzbekistan announced it had signed a €55.8 million (£46.3 million) loan contract with AFD to support the hydropower sector. French companies are also playing a prominent role in the development of sustainable energy in Uzbekistan.
In a report dated April 2020, the International Energy Agency mentioned Uzbekistan’s renewable energy potential. According to its figures, the country has a gross potential of 2.2 megatons of oil equivalent in wind power, 9.2 megatons in hydropower and 50 973 megatons in solar power.
Editor of Novastan
Translated from French by Eva Houdu
Edited by Anna Wilhelmi