A new 1,600-MW natural gas-fired power plant project in Uzbekistan reached another milestone, with Mitsubishi Power announcing it received an order for two of the company’s M701JAC gas turbines for the combined cycle facility.
The Syrdarya 2 plant is being developed in the Syrdarya region of Uzbekistan. Mitsubishi Power on July 10 said it has signed an equipment supply agreement with Harbin Electric International Co. Ltd., the Chinese contractor for the project. The plant is expected to enter commercial operation in 2026.
The World Bank in May of this year said it approved a payment of as much as $29 million to the National Electric Grid of Uzbekistan to support the plant’s construction. The International Finance Corp., a member of the World Bank Group, earlier this year supported the project by allocating a $150 million financing package and helping gather more than $1 billion in private financing needed to build and commission the Syrdarya 2 plant.
The World Bank has said its country program in Uzbekistan is among its largest in Europe and Central Asia, comprising 27 projects with net commitments of about $5.7 billion.
Reliant on Natural Gas
Uzbekistan is reliant on natural gas for more than 70% of the country’s power generation, even as officials push for the use of more renewable energy resources. The government, which has acknowledged the slow integration of renewables, has said new gas-fired power plants are needed to replace inefficient older thermal units and support demand for electricity.
The Syrdarya 2 project, which will join the 1,500-MW Syrdarya 1 plant expected to come online this year, supports Uzbekistan’s goal to improve energy efficiency while awaiting the deployment of large-scale renewable energy resources. Officials said the new plant will support an estimated 15% of the country’s electricity demand, while boosting the country’s installed power generation capacity by about 10%.
Mitsubishi Power on Monday said the M701JAC gas turbines are the latest model in the company’s air-cooled J-Series. Officials said the Syrdarya plant should have a thermal efficiency rating of more than 60%, or twice as efficient as some of Uzbekistan’s current thermal generating units.
The new Syrdarya plants are expected to replace generation from the existing Syrdarya thermal power plant, which was commissioned between 1972 and 1981. That station uses a combination of fuel oil and natural gas, with eight 300-MW units and two 325-MW units. The Uzbekistan Ministry of Energy in June 2020 said its would decommission some of those units and modernize others at Syrdarya.
Consortium Will Own, Operate New Plant
The Syrdarya 2 plant is sited about 150 kilometers, or 93 miles, south of Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan. The plant will be built, owned, and operated by a consortium of Enersok FE LLC (Enersok), owned by the French electric utility EDF; Qatari power company Nebras Power QPSC; Japanese trading company Sojitz Corp.; and Japanese energy firm Kyuden International Corp. The electricity produced by the plant will be sold to Uzbek state-owned power company JSC National Electricity Grid of Uzbekistan under a 25-year power purchase agreement.
“The Syrdarya 2 power plant will contribute to the steady and sustainable economic development of Uzbekistan by providing reliable, and low-cost energy,” said Chancel Regis, general director of Enersok. “We look forward to working with Mitsubishi Power, which has a proven track record in this country and advanced technologies, for the successful completion of this project.”
Sardor Umurzakov, the country’s deputy prime minister and minister of Investment and Foreign Trade, in announcing the power purchase agreement for the plant last year said, “The project will help resolve key issues in Uzbekistan’s energy generation sector. Firstly, the project will increase the stability of energy generation and supply. Secondly, modern technology will ensure the efficient use of natural gas and water. Finally, the successful implementation of the project will provide additional confidence for potential investors to invest in Uzbekistan’s energy sector.”
Officials have said the gas consumption savings from the plant’s initial operation could be as much as 3.5% of the country’s annual natural gas consumption, or as much as 1.7 billion cubic meters of gas, due to the plant’s higher thermal efficiency. This also would contribute to a net carbon emissions reduction of as much as 2.8 million tons of carbon dioxide, according to officials.
Carbon Neutral by 2050
Uzbekistan’s government has called for carbon neutrality in the country’s power sector by 2050, primarily through construction of high-efficiency, low-carbon power generation infrastructure. The program prioritizes the replacement or modernization of existing gas-fired power plants.
“Uzbekistan will require significant power generation and infrastructure to meet the needs of its growing population and economy. The modern Syrdarya 2 CCGT plant will provide more reliable and affordable electricity, helping to address the country’s energy shortages and increase the security and stability of its electricity supply,” said Marco Mantovanelli, World Bank Country Manager for Uzbekistan, earlier this year. “It will increase the flexibility of the power system and enable large-scale renewable energy generation deployment and integration in the grid over the medium-to-long term. These measures will contribute to the clean energy transition in Uzbekistan and the energy sector decarbonization plans by 2050.”
Mitsubishi Power, in addition to supplying the two gas turbines for the project, also is supplying technical advisers to support installation and commissioning. Mitsubishi also is executing a long-term service agreement for the facility.
Mitsubishi Power said it has now received orders for 12 large-frame gas turbines, including the F and JAC-series, for seven projects in Uzbekistan. The company also has supplied its H-25 series of small- and medium-sized gas turbines for an urban distributed natural gas-fired cogeneration, or combined heat and power, facility being developed in Tashkent.
—Darrell Proctor is a senior associate editor for POWER (@POWERmagazine).