IFC, Uzbekistan collaborate to reduce grid reliance through shallow geothermal energy (Exclusive)

Uzbekistan Materials 25 June 2024 08:26 (UTC +04:00)
Aydan Alasgarli
Aydan Alasgarli
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BAKU, Azerbaijan, June 25. Together with the state and private sector partners, the International Finance Corporation (IFC, a member of the World Bank Group) is currently exploring the use of shallow geothermal energy for heating and cooling buildings in Uzbekistan, IFC Regional Manager for Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan Neil McKain told Trend.

"Utilizing this energy source within the country can help reduce reliance on gas and electricity and ease the burden on the grid. We are currently mapping the licensing and permit processes, as well as the local production and distribution of heat pumps," he said.

According to him, the IFC is also exploring regulatory and incentive policies to encourage investments, promote the expansion of surface geothermal solutions, and implement surface geothermal projects in Uzbekistan.

"Just recently, a financial package for a 250-megawatt solar photovoltaic plant has been signed between the World Bank Group, Masdar, and the government of Uzbekistan. This new solar power plant, to be constructed in the Alat district of the Bukhara region, will provide clean, reliable electricity access to approximately 75,000 households," Neil McKain stressed.

He emphasized that the project introduces an innovative battery energy storage system (BESS) component that will help improve the efficiency and flexibility of the power system, providing greater security of supply and helping to mitigate the intermittency of renewable generation. The project, for which IFC also acted as a transaction advisor to the government, marks Central Asia's first renewable energy initiative with an integrated BESS component.

Meanwhile, Uzbekistan produced heat energy in the amount of 10.07 million Gcal from January through April 2024. The production volume of heat energy has decreased by 0.2 percent compared to the same period last year (10.09 million Gcal in January–April 2023).