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Acwa Power finalizes deals for wind farm in Uzbekistan
Central Asian country targets 8GW of solar and wind capacity by 2026
Michael Marray 5 Jan 2022

Saudi developer Acwa Power has finalized the project agreements for the 100-megawatt Nukus wind project in the northwestern Karakalpakstan region of Uzbekistan.

Valued at US$108 million, the wind farm is Uzbekistan’s first publicly tendered wind project. Acwa Power won the competitive bid after proposing a tariff of 2.5695 US cents per kilowatt-hour.

At a ceremony, ACWA Power Wind Karatau FE LLC signed a 25-year power purchase agreement with JSC National Electric Grid of Uzbekistan (NEGU), and a government support agreement with the government of Uzbekistan, represented by the Ministry of Finance.

Representatives from the Public-Private Partnership Development Agency under the Ministry of Finance of Uzbekistan, the Ministry of Energy of Uzbekistan, the Ministry of Investment and Foreign Trade of Uzbekistan and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) were also present during the signing ceremony.

Energy mix

The Nukus wind farm is ACWA Power’s fourth project in Uzbekistan, after the US$1.2 billion Sirdarya project, which is a 1,500MW combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power plant, the 500MW Bash facility, and the US$1.3 billion Djankedly wind power project in Bukhara.

The projects seek to bolster the government’s efforts to diversify the country’s energy mix and increase its renewable energy capacity in line with recent strategic reforms. The Ministry of Energy is targeting an 8-gigawatt capacity for solar and wind energy by 2026.

The Nukus wind farm’s financial close is expected to be finalized by the third quarter of 2022, with commercial operations scheduled for early 2024.

"We welcome this agreement as a further indication of Acwa Power's commitment to Uzbekistan's energy future," says energy minister Alisher Sultanov. "It is also a validation of the open and transparent bidding process we have put in place, with 12 well-qualified international bidders competing. We look forward to working with Acwa on this and its other exciting projects in our country."

Financing collaboration

In early December, Acwa Power and Natixis Corporate & Investment Banking (Natixis CIB), a subsidiary of Groupe BPCE, the second largest banking group in France, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) stating their intention to collaborate on the advancement of ACWA Power's projects in the region. 

The MoU was signed in Jeddah by Clive Turton, chief investment officer of Acwa Power, and Anne-Christine Champion, co-head of Natixis CIB. It paves the way for the two parties to explore opportunities to develop new projects in the region, including in renewable and clean energy, with an objective for Natixis CIB to finance up to approximately US$2 billion over two years for Acwa Power's project pipeline. 

The signing ceremony took place in the presence of Khalid Al Falih, Saudi minister of Investment, and Franck Riester, French minister of foreign trade and economic attractiveness.

Since 2005, Acwa Power and Natixis CIB's relationship has increasingly grown. Natixis has underwritten a number of Acwa Power's high-profile projects such as Sakaka Solar PV IPP, DEWA IV CSP/PV Hybrid IPP, and DEWA V Solar PV IPP. 

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