Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power to Finance Solar Project in Uzbekistan

Marco Arcelli, Chief Executive Officer of ACWA Power, with representatives of financing companies (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Marco Arcelli, Chief Executive Officer of ACWA Power, with representatives of financing companies (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power to Finance Solar Project in Uzbekistan

Marco Arcelli, Chief Executive Officer of ACWA Power, with representatives of financing companies (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Marco Arcelli, Chief Executive Officer of ACWA Power, with representatives of financing companies (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Saudi-listed ACWA Power, the world's largest private water desalination company, has signed financing agreements for Tashkent’s Riverside power plant in Uzbekistan.

The greenfield development will involve the development of a 200MW solar photovoltaic (PV) plant and a 500MWh BESS that will serve to stabilize the Uzbek grid, ACWA Power said Monday.

The total investment cost of the project is 2 billion Saudi Riyals, according to a statement issued by ACWA Power to the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul).

Clean energy specialist, ACWA Power, said it wholly owns the Riverside Power Station project in Tashkent.

It added that ACWA Power Riverside Solar Energy Holding secured 1.4 billion Saudi Riyals for 19 years with the aim of developing, financing, designing, constructing and operating the power plant.

The funding it secured was provided by a consortium of development finance institutions, funds and international commercial lenders including the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Proparco, DEG, Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), Standard Chartered Bank and KFW-IPEX Bank.

“In a world that is looking for greater participation of private capital in emerging markets to support growth and decarbonization, Uzbekistan is a case study under the vision and leadership of its Government and lenders like EBRD, DEG, Islamic Development Bank, Proparco, KfW-IPEX Bank and Standard Chartered,” said Chief Executive Officer of ACWA Power Marco Arcelli.

He added that the agreement for the Tashkent Riverside project reflects the strong trust placed in ACWA Power as the private sector partner, and one of the global leaders in renewables and energy storage.

“This trust is built on our unparalleled track record and we look forward to the successful execution of this new project to contribute to the country's ambitious low carbon future,” Arcelli added.

Nandita Parshad, Managing Director of Sustainable Infrastructure Group at EBRD, said: “We are proud to partner with ACWA Power and co-financiers on the pioneering Tashkent Solar PV and energy storage project in Uzbekistan, the largest of its kind in Central Asia.”

“The project is core to Uzbekistan's ambition to install 25GW of renewables by 2030. This project can power 170,000 households and the battery storage capacity is equivalent to 8000 electric vehicles.”

The project will play an instrumental role in achieving Uzbekistan's ambitious targets to transition to a low-carbon economy as well as diversify its energy sources.

By 2030, Uzbekistan is aiming to generate 40% of its electricity from renewables.

The BESS will help to mitigate the effects of intermittency that are inherent in renewable energy sources, storing excess electricity generated during times of high production and make it available during periods of low production. This will ensure a constant and reliable supply of electricity to the grid, ultimately helping to meet the growing demand for energy in Uzbekistan.

Uzbekistan is ACWA Power's second-largest market in terms of investments, underscoring the company's long-standing commitment to the country. The company's current portfolio in Uzbekistan now comprises 11.6GW of power, of which 10.1GW is renewable, as well as the Republic's first green hydrogen project, with a capacity of 3,000 tons per year.

ACWA Power has recently signed a landmark $4.85 billion power purchase agreement (PPA) with the National Electric Grid of Uzbekistan for Central Asia's largest wind farm -- the Aral 5GW Wind Independent Power Producer (IPP) project in the Karakalpakstan region.



Saudi Emerging Technology Adoption Index Rises to 70.7%

The “LEAP 2024” conference saw $1 billion in funding for emerging technology ventures in Saudi Arabia (Asharq Al-Awsat)
The “LEAP 2024” conference saw $1 billion in funding for emerging technology ventures in Saudi Arabia (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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Saudi Emerging Technology Adoption Index Rises to 70.7%

The “LEAP 2024” conference saw $1 billion in funding for emerging technology ventures in Saudi Arabia (Asharq Al-Awsat)
The “LEAP 2024” conference saw $1 billion in funding for emerging technology ventures in Saudi Arabia (Asharq Al-Awsat)

The performance index of Saudi government agencies in “Emerging Technologies Adoption” has improved significantly by 10% compared to last year, rising from 60.3% in 2023 to 70.7% in 2024.
This improvement is driven by an increase in the number of participating government entities, which grew from 13 to 35.
This progress was detailed in the annual report released by the Digital Government Authority (DGA), highlighting the readiness of government entities to embrace emerging technologies in 2024.
The rise in the adoption index reflects a broader participation and growing interest aligned with the Kingdom’s goals to foster innovation and support modern technologies.
It also underscores Saudi Arabia’s commitment to sustainable development and building an advanced digital future under the “Vision 2030” initiative, which positions digital transformation as a cornerstone of its future vision.
The report also highlighted advancements in various capacities for adopting emerging technologies.
This heightened focus on adopting emerging technologies coincides with a transformative period for the Kingdom's digital government, which is leveraging cutting-edge technologies to deliver superior services to citizens, residents, and visitors, playing a crucial role in the journey towards the future.
Saudi Arabia has integrated numerous emerging technologies into government services, enhancing efficiency, automating services, saving time and effort, and promoting transparency.
Globally, the leading emerging technologies in digital governments include artificial intelligence (AI), which is used to improve government services, the Internet of Things (IoT) for data collection and analysis, virtual reality for providing interactive citizen experiences, and 3D printing for manufacturing parts and components.
Notably, Saudi Arabia ranked first globally in the Government AI Readiness Index, a part of the Global AI Index by Tortoise Intelligence, which assesses over 60 countries. Germany and China ranked second and third, respectively.
Saudi Arabia achieved a perfect score in the index’s criteria, which include having a dedicated national AI strategy, a specific government entity for AI, allocated funding and budget for AI, and defined national AI targets.