Foreign investors warm to Uzbekistan’s energy sector reforms

Multinational energy firms praised Uzbekistan’s approach to energy sector development as the country looks to accelerate its transition to greener sources of energy and enhance private sector participation.

Speaking at the Uzbekistan Economic Forum, representatives from EDF, the giant French utility company, and ACWA Power, the developer, investor and operator of power generation and desalination plants, commended the regulatory stability, long term partnership approach and ambitious renewable energy targets that the Uzbek government has set out.

The energy sector is a significant part of the economy representing 17% of GDP in 2021. Uzbekistan has committed to generating 25% of its power from renewable energy sources by 2026 and holds the ambitious target of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Clive Turton, Chief Investment Officer at ACWA Power, welcomed the Uzbek government’s long term approach to public-private partnerships (PPPs) and the sector’s regulatory stability. These strong foundations have provided the platform for ACWA Power to agree a 5-year $10bn cooperation agreement with the government to develop wind, water, solar and green hydrogen projects. 

Pierre-Paul Antheunissens, Country Director for Uzbekistan, EDF, echoed these sentiments and outlined how the country’s innovative approach to PPPs has enabled Uzbekistan to become a partner of choice in the region as EDF looks to play a role in efforts to drive clean energy generation, transmission and distribution.

Azim Ahmedhodjaev, Uzbekistan’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Energy, said: “The government has a well-established commitment to the transformation of the energy sector, striving for a greener economy through the transition to renewable energy sources. Uzbekistan aims to increase the capacity of renewable energy sources to 8 GW by 2026 and 12 GW by 2030.”

“The government embarked on its PPP programme with the goal of attracting private-sector finance, expertise, skills and efficiency to public sector projects. With the support of ADB, IFC and EBRD, PPP investments have so far focused on the energy generation sector. The government has awarded 19 projects with the aim of generating 8.9 GW of electricity, with 2.9 GW of the total coming from renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.”