OPEC funds Uzbek power project
A development fund steered by OPEC said April 16 it was extending a loan to Uzbekistan to upgrade its aging power sector through the construction of a gas-fired plant.
The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said its international development fund signed a $50mn loan agreement with Saudi utility ACWA Power to help build and operate a 1.5 GW gas-turbine power plant in Sirdarya, near the country’s eastern border.
The new plant, OPEC estimated, is an improvement over existing thermal-power capacity in terms of efficiency and will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 2.2mn mt/year.
The central Asian nation is looking to expand its electricity generation to spur economic growth. The Uzbek grid is sufficient enough to meet demand, though efficiency is a problem because of the nation’s outdated infrastructure. As such, economic growth is stifled by regular power outages.
Uzbekistan broke ground on the power project in January. Once completed, it will account for 8% of the total installed power capacity in the country and satisfy about 15% of the national power demand.
OPEC’s funding effort is supplemented by the participation of European and German lenders.