World Bank backs Uzbek thermal power plant PPP

Gas power plant at night

Uzbekistan signs PPP agreement for modern efficient thermal power plant in Syrdarya, with backing from the International Finance Corporation. 

The government of Uzbekistan has finalised a public-private partnership agreement, with International finance Corporation (IFC) support, for a new thermal power plant in Syrdarya. The project has been proposed to help modernise the country’s power sector, reduce costs, and cut carbon emissions.

Uzbekistan’s JSC National Electric Grid and Ministry of Investments and Foreign Trade signed the 25-year project agreement with an international consortium comprising EDF (France), Nebras Power (Qatar), Sojitz Corporation (Japan) and Kyuden International (Japan).

The consortium will be responsible for building and operating the 1,600-megawatt combined cycle gas turbine power plant, which is expected to be one of the most efficient thermal power plants in the country. 

Sardor Umurzakov, Uzbekistan’s deputy prime-minister and minister of investment and foreign trade, said: “The project will help resolve key issues in Uzbekistan’s energy generation sector. Firstly, the project will increase the stability of energy generation and supply. Secondly, modern technology will ensure the efficient use of natural gas and water. Finally, the successful implementation of the project will provide additional confidence for potential investors to invest in Uzbekistan’s energy sector.”

IFC partnered with the Global Infrastructure Facility (GIF) to assist the Uzbek government in structuring and implementing the PPP and assisted in the competitive international tender for the project. GIF is a G20 initiative, housed in the World Bank, supporting quality sustainable infrastructure solutions in emerging markets and developing economies.

Uzbekistan’s electricity generation is currently dominated by gas, with an inefficient aging fleet of thermal plants near the end of their operating life. The new plant is expected to be almost twice as efficient as older models, helping to decrease gas consumption, reduce the country’s carbon footprint, and support the integration of renewable energy.

Stephanie von Friedeburg, IFC senior vice president for operations, said: “Electricity demand is rising in Uzbekistan and a stable power supply is essential for sustainable, inclusive growth. This project is part of IFC’s efforts to support the Government’s ground-breaking reforms to modernise the energy sector, including replacing old and inefficient power plants. By encouraging private sector investment in new, more efficient power generation, Uzbekistan is helping to both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet growing energy demands.”

GIF support included an investment feasibility study and bolstering the transaction implementation up to the project’s commercial close. GIF also leveraged its advisory partner network to promote investment opportunities and raise awareness among developers and financiers.

Jason Zhengrong Lu, head, Global Infrastructure Facility said: “Uzbekistan is a strategically important country for GIF. We have long-standing engagements in multiple sectors, from energy and airports to roads and solid waste, and we are delighted to partner in this project to support the country’s energy transition. This project’s successful implementation reinforces our commitment to promoting sustainable infrastructure investments and mobilizing private capital in the country.”