Saudi Arabia's Minister of Investment Eng. Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al-Falih has affirmed that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, under the leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and HRH Crown Prince, is keen to strengthen relations with the Republic of Uzbekistan by supporting economic, investment and commercial cooperation between the two countries to rise to a level that reflects deep-rooted strong ties between the two countries and peoples.
He pointed out that Saudi Arabia is keen to support the Republic of Uzbekistan in all its reforms, projects and development plans that will achieve growth and prosperity for the Uzbek people.
This came in the opening speech delivered by the Minister yesterday, during his patronage of the foundation stone laying ceremony for the Sirdarya Cycle Gas-Turbine power plant, with a production capacity of 1500 megawatts.
The Minister also patronized the launch of the projects of Saudi ACWA POWER in the field of generating electricity from wind energy in Bukhara region, with a production capacity of 1,000 megawatts, in addition to signing Power Purchase Agreements in the Republic of Uzbekistan.
This was in the presence of Uzbek Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Investment and Foreign Trade Sardor Umurzakov; Uzbek Minister of Energy Alisher Sultanov; Saudi Ambassador to Uzbekistan Hisham bin Mishaal Al-Suwailem; and Chairman of the Board of Directors of ACWA POWER Mohammed bin Abdullah Abunayyan.
Minister Eng. Al-Falih said that the projects, which have an estimated total investment value of USD 2.5 billion, will contribute directly to the growth of power generation capacity in Uzbekistan, to keep pace with the increasing demand, which is expected to reach 18 gigawatts/h by 2030.
He pointed to the successes achieved by ACWA POWER, which was a start-up company in 2004, and now has become one of the leading Saudi companies in providing clean energy solutions.
The Minister of Investment said that Saudi Arabia has a long history and a leading global position in the field of energy, pointing out that renewable energy in the Kingdom today has ambitious programs and a promising future, especially in light of rich resources in solar energy, wind energy, and competing expertise to develop these programs.
This is embodied in enabling the renewable energy sector, within its national energy mix, as it aims to raise the level of electricity production using renewable energy by 50% in 2030, while the remaining percentage will depend on gas production.
Minister Eng. Al-Falih pointed out that Saudi Arabia has ambitious plans in many other fields of renewable energy, as it launched, during the past year, several projects and initiatives in this context, including, The Green Hydrogen Production Project in NEOM.
The Kingdom, as part of its interest in sustainable development, also initiated the circular carbon economy approach, which was endorsed by the leaders of the G20 countries, and represents a comprehensive, integrated and realistic approach to managing emissions that contribute to global warming, as well as its possible application in line with each country's priorities and circumstances.
The Minister concluded his speech by looking forward to soon celebrating the completion of giant ACWA POWER projects, stressing that expectations are high for the private sector in both countries.
For his part, Chairman of the Board of Directors of ACWA POWER Mohammed Abunayyan said that we are proud of being a Saudi company and our vital role in supporting efforts aimed at reducing or eliminating carbon emissions completely in Uzbekistan, in addition to contributing to the transformation process in the energy sector by supporting the foundations of international cooperation between the two countries.
Abunayyan pointed out that ACWA POWER is working, by adding more new projects that rely on renewable energy sources and developing cleaner, more efficient and cost-competitive gas energy projects, to expand its presence in Uzbekistan, which is a high growing market.
The foundation stone laying ceremony comes on the sidelines of the visit of a high-level Saudi delegation from the government and private sectors headed by the Minister of Investment Eng. Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al-Falih to Uzbekistan to strengthen bilateral relations, launch a number of joint projects, sign memorandums of understanding and launch renewable energy projects led by Saudi companies.