In early September it was announced that the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has agreed to lend $60 million to Uzbekistan’s state hydropower producer and developer JSC Uzbekhydroenergo to support implementation of the country’s ambitious national energy strategy to generate a quarter of all electricity from renewable sources by 2030, including 3.8GW of hydro energy.

The loan, agreed on a 25-year term, follows the recent announcement of a new 20-year, €55.8 million loan from the French Development Agency to support investment projects in Uzbekistan’s hydropower sector. The ADB loan will be used towards the construction of three new hydropower plants on the Aksu River, with a total installed capacity of 24MW – the 10.3MW Tamshush project; 7.5MW Chappasuy project; and the 6.2MW Rabat project.

Of the new $60 million from the ADB, $23.6 million will be used for procurement of machinery and equipment, $21.6 million has been allocated for construction and installation works and the remaining proceeds will be used to: manage the project and cover pre-project costs; create a high-voltage network; and finance the selection of general contractor through a tender organized with the ADB

Feasibility studies for the new hydropower projects were carried out with the support of international financial institutions and foreign governmental bodies in line with Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Investment and Foreign Trade of Uzbekistan guidelines.

The new hydropower projects, which are scheduled for commissioning in 2022, will add 97.5 million kWh of cheap and cheap and environmentally friendly electricity production, annually. They will create over 40 jobs, increase hydropower’s share in the country's energy balance, save fuel resources and meet the growing demand for electricity. 

The projects complement Uzbekhydronergo’s ‘Project Factory’ initiative, which is already underway and promoting the development and implementation of new investment projects based on modern technologies. 

Abdugani Sanginov, Chairman of the Board of JSC Uzbekhydroenergo, gives IWP&DC more details on the projects:

Can you provide details and background on the ‘Project Factory’ initiative? How important is hydropower in this initiative? 

Project Factory is an ongoing JSC Uzbekhydroenergo initiative promoting the development and implementation of new hydropower investment projects based on modern technologies. A total of 
23 projects with projected capacity of 907.5 MW, worth $1.57 billion are currently underway. 

This includes 14 investment projects to create new hydropower projects with a total projected capacity of 637.25MW worth $1.37 billion and the modernisation of 9 existing facilities with a total projected capacity of 270.3MW worth $190 million.

 By the end of 2020, it is expected that six projects with additional capacity of 118.3MW will have been commissioned. 

Can you provide details on the three hydropower projects to be supported with the recent loan from the Asian Development Bank?

The Asian Development Bank loan will finance construction of the Rabat, Chappasu and Tamshush small hydropower plants in the Kashkadarya region. These hydropower plants are located in the Shakhrisabz district of Kashkadarya region, upstream of the Gissarak reservoir. Commissioning of these plants is planned for 2023 and equipment for construction will be determined via an international tender.

Are other banks helping to support hydropower development in the country? 

A number of international financial institutions including the Asian Development Bank, the French Development Agency, the International Development Association, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Russian state development corporation VEB.RF and Eximbank of the PRC are involved in the financing of hydropower projects in Uzbekistan.  

With the support of such international partners, Uzbekistan is making great strides towards its ambitious renewable energy goals for 2030. 

Are there other new planned hydropower projects in development you can provide details on? 

As part of an ongoing investment program for 2020-2022, there are several anticipated large hydropower investment projects. This includes construction of Mullalak hydropower plant (140MW), Upper-Pskem hydropower plant (100MW), and the Khojikent pumped storage power plant (200MW) – all in the Tashkent region.

Will you be working on refurbishing existing hydropower projects as well as these new projects?

The Project Factory initiative includes both construction of new hydropower plants and ongoing modernisation of existing facilities.

How much impact has Covid-19 had on your planned and ongoing hydropower projects?

Global travel restrictions – due to the pandemic – have restricted travel for certain foreign specialists and international experts. However, in August 2020, we still completed the three-year, $27.6 million modernisation of the Kadyrinskaya hydropower plant on schedule (see panel).

During the last months of this project, employees and contractors worked around the clock under special quarantine conditions.