Saudi Arabia to Build the World’s Biggest Wind Farm in Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan President Mirziyoyev has returned from his trip to Saudi Arabia with a promise of investments totaling $14 billion, according to the presidential office of Uzbekistan. The agreements include a pledge from Saudi firm ACWA Power to build a 1.5 GW wind farm in Karakalpakstan. Uzbekistan’s energy ministry said it would be the world’s largest wind farm and power 1.65 million households. ACWA Power has already begun building two smaller wind farms in the country’s Bukhara region.

The Cental Asian nation has been coping with a season of power shortages, as rising temperatures and drought disrupting the region’s hydropower networks. The country has begun experiencing electricity shortages and blackouts as a result.

Energy investment news from Saudi Arabia came at a crucial time as the country’s planned Russian-built nuclear plant could be shelved with Moscow under financial sanctions.

ACWA also agreed to research the future of green hydrogen in Uzbekistan.

Tashkent and Riyadh also signed an agreement for the kingdom to invest in Uzbekistan’s natural gas industry. Uzbekistan is one of the world’s largest gas producers, but increasing domestic demand has forced it to phase out exports.

The meetings in Saudi Arabia were part of Mirziyoyev’s privatization drive, an effort to roll back a legacy of statist policies pursued by former President Karimov during his 25-year rule. By 2025 Mirziyoyev hopes to privatize, fully or partially, 75% of Uzbekistan’s nearly 3,000 state-owned enterprises and other assets. Large enterprises in strategic sectors like energy and power generation, mining and minerals and transportation are also up for sale.

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