Yesterday, the Press Club in Brussels held a press conference on the efforts and investments going into Uzbekistan and its energy sector, specifically the new Stone City Energy gas power plant project, as well as the future of energy in the country considering the Paris agreement goals.
1. The Energy Charter Treaty and the Stone City Energy project
Uzbekistan is one of the founders of the Energy Charter Treaty, an international agreement that establishes a multilateral framework for cross-border cooperation in the energy industry, covering all aspects of commercial energy activities including trade, transit, investments and energy efficiency.
Uzbekistan’s Ambassador, Dilyor Khakimov, spoke of the political and economic opening up of Uzbekistan in recent years, describing a limited economy pre 2016 which has now grown to see big European investment. The energy sector is one of the country’s most attractive sectors, demonstrates this with the Stone City Energy project which is protected under the Energy Charter Treaty.
This new gas fired power plant in Uzbekistan with the highest power and efficiency in the Central Asia region, demonstrates my country’s potential for new, more efficient power plants which double efficiency and mean less carbon is used to create the country’s energy.Dilyor Khakimov, Ambassador of Uzbekistan to the European Union
Also speaking at the press conference, Alain Danniau, Director and CEO of Stone City Energy, said that “Uzbekistan is very aware of decarbonisation and is ambitious but pragmatic in their approach to energy”.
2. Decarbonisation: cheaper and more sustainable long term for Uzbekistan not to rely on coal
Dr. Urban Rusnák, the Secretary General of the Energy Charter Secretariat, underlined that this project will contribute to Uzbekistan achieving the Paris Agreement goals (Zero Emissions at 2050) and that, “it may sound strange that a gas power plant could lead us to this goal but indeed its place in the current system of power supply and distribution”.
Rusnák highlighted that the Energy Charter Treaty offers the most up to date technology and that increased flexibility of the power system will allow for a broader introduction of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, as well as increasing the reliability of the energy sources and the country’s national grid. He also explained that phasing out obsolete plants and replacing coal with gas plants is essential and will reduce pollution for local populations, making the air they breathe and live in cleaner. He praised the project as “clear cooperation of the energy sector between East and West, between private sector and government”, describing it as ‘just the beginning of the modernisation of the overall Uzbekistan power system.’
Despite the fact that today we are speaking not about renewable but about low emission project, this fully complies with the national green economic energy strategy of Uzbekistan for the period of 2019-2030 and more importantly the roadmap of Uzbekistan towards a zero carbon power sector until 2050Dr. Urban Rusnák, the Secretary General of the Energy Charter Secretariat
This project will show the Uzbeks that it is cheaper and more sustainable long term for the country not to rely on coal. According to this roadmap, before 2030 Uzbekistan must build 8 GigaWatt (GW) of additional renewable energy capacity and modernise 10GW of existing natural gas capacity.
“According to our estimations, to achieve a clean energy transition Uzbekistan will need about $94 billion of investment in the coming 30 years” stressed Ambassador Khakimov. The country has already attracted more than $2.5 billion in new power projects, including $3 billion in combined gas cycle turbines and $2.2 billion in renewables (solar and wind projects). There is space for everybody to invest in the future of Uzbekistan’s energy sector, he said, describing it as a ‘huge opportunity which will bring us all together and closer to our goals.’