Uzbekistan: increasing energy efficiency in the context of the transition to a “green” economy

Uzbekistan has a high technical potential for producing energy from renewable sources, of which about 97% comes from solar energy. Uzbekistan is a sunny country, and this is an important argument in the development of such an important direction for creating generation based on renewable energy sources as solar photovoltaic stations (PVS). According to experts, through the construction of solar power plants.

The Republic’s current solar generation potential ranges from 525 to 760 billion kWh. This is due to the fact that the number of sunny days per year is 320 days and the number of hours of active sunshine is on average 3,000 hours. By 2026, it is planned to increase the share of “green” energy to 8 thousand MW, which will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 5 million tons. By 2030, the energy efficiency of the economy is planned to double, and the share of renewable energy to at least 25%. Today we can talk about the dynamics of reducing emissions into the atmosphere. According to the State Statistics Committee, if in 2014 in Uzbekistan the volume of emissions of harmful substances into the atmosphere exceeded 1,162 thousand tons, then in 2021 this figure amounted to 909 tons.

The state can and should act as a regulator of the demand created – to motivate the population to purchase environmentally oriented goods, to encourage businesses that rely on green technologies. Successful implementation of change requires climate change mitigation measures, including large-scale development of renewable energy sources (RES) and the introduction of energy efficient technologies in energy-intensive construction and buildings industries.

Lately, information has been increasingly appearing on the Internet from various bloggers that Uzbekistan is purchasing gas from Russia, while gas production in our country is decreasing.

This is a well-known fact and we will not dispute it. Another question is what is the presentation of this material, what do bloggers want to say with this. The fact is that more and more often, in concluding their blogs about an existing event, bloggers are trying to reflect it as a negative event, placing false blame on the state, on a government body.

In this regard, we would like to draw your attention to the following. Uzbekistan is a country with the richest natural resources and, according to various estimates, is one of the ten richest countries in the world in terms of reserves of natural resources, in particular gold, uranium, coal, copper, gas and others.

But it is also a well-known fact that resources are depleted as they are used. And this is happening all over the world and will continue to happen in our country. The decrease in gas production in the Republic of Uzbekistan is caused precisely by the reduction in its reserves.

Presenting the republic’s gas purchases from Russia as a negative event is, at the very least, puzzling, and at most an attempt to undermine the country’s energy security and destabilize society. On the contrary, we believe that purchasing gas from Russia is a positive fact; the only question is under what conditions it is done.

The fact is that today, for well-known reasons, Russia is under sanctions from the leading world powers, so Russia’s ability to export its gas to most European countries has been sharply limited. Therefore, the Russian Federation is looking for new consumers for its natural resource. An increase in gas supply naturally leads to a decrease in its price. In this regard, why shouldn’t our country, based on national and economic interests, take advantage of this opportunity and purchase cheaper raw materials?

We would like to remind you that gas is not only a source of energy produced by burning it. Gas is a valuable raw material for the production of polymers, fertilizers and much more. In particular, the Republic of Uzbekistan has a very powerful, developed chemical industry. At the same time, for most chemical enterprises producing fertilizers, gas is the main raw material resource. By purchasing cheap raw materials, we provide jobs for thousands of citizens of the republic; the creation of a finished product with high added value serves to ensure the growth of the people’s well-being; tax revenues from profits increase the revenues of the state treasury.

World experience shows that it is economically reasonable to import raw materials if their price is lower than the cost of production in your country. For example, the United States of America, being one of the world leaders in gas reserves, is also the largest importer of this resource, thus ensuring energy security for its future generation.

Of course, everyone is free to have their own point of view on current events. We think that most bloggers are concerned about the continued prosperity of our country. And if this is so, we would recommend that they pay attention to how we use natural resources, including gas. In this regard, we need to turn not to the government, but to the consumers of this gas: entrepreneurs, managers of industrial enterprises and the population.

We must understand that a depleting resource requires its economical use. Today, the main task of all economic entities in the country is the reasonable, economical, and efficient use of non-renewable resources. Today the challenge is to produce more finished products with high added value with less energy consumption. It is necessary to import and apply energy-saving equipment and technologies.

And today, if there is an opportunity to purchase cheap raw materials, especially energy resources, it would be foolish not to take advantage of this opportunity to ensure the country’s energy security.

Mikhail Khamidulin,

Academy of Public Administration

under the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan,

DSc. in Economics, Professor.