CHAIRMAN OF ACWA POWER
Energy I Interview I Uzbekistan 2023
_BIOGRAPHY He is the Founder and Chairman of the Board of Directors of ACWA Power, a publicly listed company in the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul), which is at the global forefront of the energy transition through transformative solutions in clean energy, water desalination, and green hydrogen. He is widely recognized as a global reference in the water and energy sectors.
“ACWA POWER IS A DEVELOPER, INVESTOR AND OPERATOR OF POWER GENERATION, WATER DESALINATION AND GREEN HYDROGEN PLANTS GLOBALLY.”
WHAT ARE ACWA POWER'S LONG-TERM OBJECTIVES IN UZBEKISTAN?
Looking ahead, ACWA Power sees significant opportunities in the Uzbek energy sector, particularly in renewable energy. The government has set ambitious targets to increase the share of renewables in the energy mix and ACWA Power is well-positioned to support Uzbekistan in achieving its goals. One of the main challenges in the deployment of renewables is the intermittency of power supply. Rather than look at this as a tough obstacle, we have introduced battery storage solutions (BESS), utilising state-of-the-art technological solutions that were previously unimaginable a decade ago. By integrating BESS into the PV projects, Uzbekistan is set to have the largest battery energy storage facilities in the region, which will be instrumental in stabilising the grid and advancing renewable energy development. We see these challenges as opportunities to bring our expertise and experience in developing and operating large-scale energy projects.
Our intention is not to come into markets to make a quick return on investment. Giving back to the community is important to us so we have made significant efforts in implementing CSR programmes, which include incorporating 40,000 integrated solar PV panels in remote residential communities in Uzbekistan to power homes and communities, and the refurbishment of Shirin College, a vocational institute that is a key centre for training local talent for a career in the energy and water sectors.Our long-term goal in Uzbekistan is to be a trusted partner in the country's energy transition, delivering sustainable and affordable power to the people. We will continue to innovate and explore new technologies, while working closely with local communities and stakeholders to ensure that our projects deliver meaningful social and economic benefits.
Uzbekistan represents an exciting prospect in building our Central Asian portfolio as it is our second largest market in terms of value, aside from our home base of Saudi Arabia. It has clear targets for renewable energy adoption, with the government taking proactive steps to realise their goals. The energy infrastructure, additionally, needs to be modernised to manage these developments. As the Uzbek and Saudi governments enhance bilateral ties, the market prospects for ACWA Power look bright. We are therefore extremely focused on delivering value, whether it is to our government offtake partners, to local businesses as they represent our supply chain partners or to the communities in which we serve, as they are the ultimate end-users of the services which we deliver to the highest safety standards.
CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR KEY PROJECTS IN UZBEKISTAN?
Energy is the backbone of any economy, and our mission is to provide communities with responsible, reliable, and affordable power, at low cost. We have been in the business for nearly two decades and built a reputation for delivering innovative, reliable, and cost-effective energy solutions. We believe in Uzbekistan and its abundant potential, and this is the reason we have ten projects in the country, valued at U$7.5 billion. Our project portfolio comprises low carbon gas to energy and renewable energy facilities, demonstrating our commitment to Uzbekistan’s energy transition.
Of the ten projects in the Republic, nine are renewable energy projects and include two 500MW wind farms in Bash and Dzankeldy, a 100MW wind project in Nukus, 3 wind farms each of 500MW with battery energy storage solutions (BESS) at Kungrad in Karakalpakstan, a 400MW solar PV and BESS project at Tashkent and two solar PV projects with BESS at Sazagan in Samarkand. The tenth project is a 1500MW combined cycle gas turbine power plant in Sirdarya. ACWA Power will also develop a green hydrogen facility and a green ammonia pilot project, which are the first of their kind in the country. This growth would not have been possible without the support and trust of the Uzbek government.
HOW IS ACWA POWER CONTRIBUTING TO UZBEKISTAN'S ENERGY VISION?
We see a tremendous opportunity for renewable energy to grow in Uzbekistan as its blessed with abundant solar and wind resources, and the government has set ambitious targets to increase the share of renewables in the energy mix to 25% by 2030. Renewable energy technologies have advanced significantly, and are more efficient and affordable to produce than ever before. We have driven energy transformation in many markets and are keen to advance solutions that enable cost-competitive transition to clean energy as opposed to conventional fuel sources in Uzbekistan.