Uzbekistan set to modernize power system

Uzbekistan set to modernize power system

Uzbekistan, a Central Asian state with diverse energy recourses, in keen on improves its power sector by modernizing existing facilities, Azernews reported.

The nation of over 30 million population will spend over $292 million for the modernization and reconstruction of substations of backbone networks until 2022.

The Uzbek president has already approved the feasibility study for the project, Sputnik reported.

Uzbekistan is the most energy hungry country in Europe and Central Asia. Nearly 40 percent of available electricity generation capacity is outdated or will reach the end of its lifespan by 2017.

In total, it is planned to reconstruct 22 major substations in Tashkent and another 10 in the regions within the program. This will significantly reduce technical losses and operating and maintenance costs.

In addition, it is planned to purchase mobile substations of 110 kV medium voltage and emergency recovery systems, which are necessary for the prompt elimination of disconnections on the main power transmission lines.

This new technology will increase the sustainability of the national energy system. The project will also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in an amount equal to the annual energy consumption of over 6 million families in Uzbekistan.

The works will be financed through $75.3 million of Uzbekenergo's own funds, a $92 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and a$ 58 million loan from the International Development Association. Another $66.8 million are invested by the government of the republic in the form of tax and customs privileges.

Of them, about $128 million will be directed for the purchase of various equipment, $56 million - for construction and installation work and the remaining part - for other costs.

Uzbekistan is the largest electricity producer in Central Asia. Total installed capacity of Uzbekistan’s power plants exceeds 12.4 GW. Twelve thermal power plants, with a combined capacity of over 10.7 GW, and 31 hydro power plants, with a combined capacity of 1.7 GW, belonging to the Uzbekenergo, the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources, the Mining and Metallurgical Company Almalyk and the Uzkhimprom Association, constitute the backbone of the electricity sector.

The country enjoys vast potential in renewable energy, and 97 percent is solar energy, 320 sunny days per year. The World Bank estimates that Uzbekistan solar total potential is more than about 51 billion tons of oil energy, which can not only save a lot of oil resources, but also improve the atmospheric environment.

During the latest decade, hydropower energy production has been steadily increasing in the country. It is expected to grow mainly by virtue of the development of mini-hydropower plants with a capacity of 420–440 MW and the modernization of existing HPPs.

Uzbekistan is also a net exporter of electricity as it provides its energy networks for the transit of Turkmen electricity to Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

In Uzbekistan, the electricity is transmitted and distributed through power transmission lines whose voltage ranges between 0.4 and 500 kV and whose total length currently exceeds 243,000 km.

Previously, Central Asia had a unified energy system. It included 83 power plants with total capacity of 25,000 megawatts in the territory of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and southern Kazakhstan.

In winter, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan accumulated water in reservoirs and received electricity and energy resources (coal and natural gas) from Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. In summer, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan sent water to Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan for irrigation farming.

As much as 50 percent of the power generating capacity in the united power grid of Central Asia and Southern Kazakhstan was concentrated in Uzbekistan.

However, after Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan left the unified energy system of Central Asia in 2003 and 2009, respectively, the system ceased to function.

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