ACWA Power to build, operate giant wind farm in Uzbekistan
The 1500MW project can power four million households and offset 2.5 million tonnes of CO2 a year
12 May 2021 | Michael Marray

ACWA Power has signed an implementation agreement to build and operate a 1500MW wind power project in Uzbekistan. Located in Karakalpakstan, an autonomous republic in the northwestern end of Uzbekistan, the wind farm will be the largest in Central Asia and one of the biggest in the world.

The deal, signed on May 4 with Uzbekistan's Ministry of Investments & Foreign Trade and Ministry of Energy, is the latest in a series of projects involving cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan. Present at the signing ceremony were Saudi Arabia's Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman and Uzbekistan’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Investments & Foreign Trade Sardor Umurzakov.

The project can power four million households and offset almost 2.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. It will support Uzbekistan's efforts to diversify its energy mix, increasing its renewable energy capacity in line with recent strategic reforms. The government has set a goal to have 25% of its power capacity generated from renewable sources by 2030.

ACWA Power, based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, develops, invests and operates power generation and desalinated water plants, and is present in 13 countries. 

On April 1 the company announced financial closure for the development, construction and operation of the 1500MW Sirdarya combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power plant in Shirin, a city in the Sirdaryo Region of Uzbekistan.

A syndicate of seven international lenders will provide US$750 million senior debt for the US$1 billion project. The mandated lead entities to help structure the project finance debt include the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), German Investment Corporation (DEG), Standard Chartered, Natixis, Societe Generale, the OPEC Fund for International Development, and Bank of China. The commercial banks are providing funding on the back of a Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency cover.

The project will provide cleaner, more efficient and cost-competitive gas power that can be used across industries in Uzbekistan. Once put into operation, it is expected to meet 15% of the power demand in Uzbekistan.

In January, following the groundbreaking ceremony for the Sirdarya CCGT plant, power purchase agreements and investment agreements were signed for two wind power plants in the Bukhara and Navoi regions. The two have an aggregate power generation capacity of 1000MW. The two projects, while will be powered by around 200 wind turbines, have a total investment cost of US$1.3 billion.