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When it comes to wind power in Central Asia, companies from the Persian Gulf have taken the lead.

This week, Riyadh-based green energy company ACWA Power made the news in two countries in the region for it efforts in laying the ground for major projects to come.

In Uzbekistan, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev signed off on March 5 on a decree on the construction of two wind power plants, or WPP - both projects are being implemented by ACWA Power.

One 500-megawatt WPP, along with associated power lines, will be built in the autonomous Karakalpakstan republic, near the remote western town of Kungirot. Another 300-megawatt capacity plant is set to appear in the Bukhara region's Gijduvan district.

An agreement signed by ACWA Power and the Uzbek government in November envisions $1.1 billion in investments.

ACWA Power has committed to selling the electricity produced at the WPPs to the Uzbek national grid for a period of 25 years.

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Mirziyoyev's office stated in November that ACWA Power is currently implementing projects collectively worth $7.5 billion.

The company is doing more than just wind. In March 2020, it signed an agreement with Uzbekistan on investing $1.2 billion into the development, construction and operation of a 1500-megawatt combined cycle gas-turbine power plant in the Syrdaryo region. ACWA Power claims the benefit of that plant will be that its design will enable twice as much power to be produced with gas as is done at existing electricity-generation facilities.

In neighboring Kazakhstan, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev met on March 7 with the visiting Energy Minister of Saudi Arabia, Abdulaziz Al Saud. The encounter produced an agreement on the implementation of a project to construct a 1-gigawatt wind power plant in the southeast of the country, in the Jetisu region.

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The work there too will be done by ACWA Power. Company chairman and founder Mohammad Abunayyan was on hand in Astana to talk about ACWA Power's role in this project and other green energy initiatives in Kazakhstan.

This is all of a part with the commitment by both countries to dramatically increase how much electricity they produce with renewables.

Uzbekistan's stated goal is to increase the share of renewable energy sources in its total electricity production to 25 percent by 2030. In 2022, the figure was 10 percent. The plan for the coming decade is to install solar power plants with a total capacity of 5,000 megawatts and wind power plants with a total capacity of 3,000 megawatts. On the wind front, most of the running is being done by ACWA Power and its Abu Dhabi-based peer Masdar.

Kazakhstan's renewables agenda is on paper more modest than that of Uzbekistan in the short term. Under current plans, at least 15 percent of all electricity generated must be provided by renewable energy sources by 2030. The grander target is for that share to reach at least 50 percent by 2050.


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Eurasianet is an independent news organization that covers news from and about the South Caucasus and Central Asia, providing on-the-ground reporting and critical perspectives on… More