Mega wind farm cements new Saudi – Uzbek clean energy deal

Saudi Arabian power company ACWA Power has signed a multi-billion dollar agreement to build the world’s biggest in shore wind farm in Uzbekistan.

The move was announced following a visit by Republic of Uzbekistan president Shavkat Mirziyoyev to Saudi Arabia last week.

The 1.5GW Karakalpakstan wind project, located in north-western Uzbekistan, would be one of the biggest single-site onshore wind projects in Central Asia and the world. The heads of terms agreement signed between ACWA Power and Uzbekistan’s Ministry of Energy and Ministry of Investment & Foreign Trade lays the foundation on which a power purchase agreement and investment agreement for the facility would be initiated.

Valued at US$2.4billion, the project is expected to achieve financial close by the end of 2023 and be fully commissioned by the first quarter of 2026. When complete, the facility is expected to power 1.65 million households and offset 2.4 million tonnes of carbon emissions per year.

The two countries have also signed an investment cooperation agreement to jointly develop gas-to-power, renewable energy, and green hydrogen projects in Uzbekistan; and are to create a roadmap for the investment of green hydrogen in the country.

The new projects are part of the Uzbek government’s long-term strategy to diversify the country’s energy mix, which targets 8 GW and 12 GW of solar and wind capacity by 2026 and 2030, respectively.

Azim Akhmedkhadjaev, Uzbekistan’s first deputy minister of energy said on signing the agreements: “We are very pleased to further develop our cooperation with Saudi Arabia and with ACWA Power. ACWA Power is already implementing four energy projects in Uzbekistan, so these new ventures are based on a strong foundation of partnership and trust. This partnership will be a major contribution to Uzbekistan’s achievements in developing and modernising the energy sector, and specifically our dedication to green energy. The joint projects will also give us access to the most modern technologies.

“The development, construction, and operation of one of the largest wind farms in the Central Asian region and the world by a Saudi company along with the joint exploration of opportunities to further develop clean energy sources reflects the Kingdom’s leadership in the field of energy and its capability to develop the human and technical potential for Saudi companies, especially in the renewables sphere,” added ACWA Power chairman Mohammad Abunayyan.

The 1.5GW Karakalpakstan wind project is ACWA Power’s fifth project in Uzbekistan. The company’s Uzbek portfolio also includes three wind farms, and a combined cycle gas turbine project. With the signing of the new agreements, Uzbekistan will become the second largest country for ACWA Power in terms of overall investment.