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NEWS AND EVENTS
November 25, 2013
President Islam Karimov Addresses the Sixth Meeting of Asia Solar Energy Forum
President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov has delivered a keynote speech at the 6th meeting of the Asia Solar Energy Forum in Tashkent. Following is the text of the address.

Esteemed participants of the Forum!

Ladies and gentlemen!

It is a tremendous honor for us to welcome you, our dear guests here in Tashkent, the heads of prominent international organizations and financial institutions, governments, major agencies and companies, research centers, specialists and experts – participants of the current meeting of the Forum, and express our sincerest respect for every one of you.

My words of gratitude go to President of the Asian Development Bank Takehiko Nakao for his personal participation in the Forum, his enormous contribution to the implementation of the Asian Initiative in Solar Energy, for the invaluable assistance and support being provided by the Asian Bank and its structural institutions for the use and the encouragement in the accelerated development of solar power. I would like to earnestly thank for the attendance of the meeting the representatives of the International Energy Agency (IEA), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Islamic Development Bank and other international centers and institutions – and all who have displayed big interest in this Forum.

Indisputable as it is, the comprehensive discussion within the proposed agenda of this meeting, namely, the “Trends and Prospects of Solar Energy Technologies”, is rather urgent, and for the most part such topic as the development of industry for manufacturing the equipment and components and the growth prospects of the Asian market in solar energy equipment, carries a practical appeal to many countries and regions.

Throughout the history of human civilization, the search for the most efficient sources of energy is known to have been in the heart of attention. Massive investments have for the last decades been and continue to be assigned to primarily the development of hydrocarbons as major crude for the production of electric and thermal energy.

It is hardly a secret to anyone that possessing the sources of energy resources, oil and gas reserves is currently one of the most critical factors in generating immeasurable revenues and wielding influence at the international arena.

I believe one should not doubt also the fact that the so-called “shale revolution” in the extraction of crude hydrocarbons can tomorrow become a serious factor in the transformation of the standing and role of certain continents, countries and other territorial units in the energy market and the geopolitical alignment of forces in the global arena. However, this sort of transformation can by no means change the interest and need mounting with every coming year in the renewable sources of energy and, first and foremost, in the use of solar power, the cleanest one in our world.

Expounding on this, one can in no way ignore the fact that, as the International Energy Agency data suggest, the solar power industry – the most promising constituent of renewable energy sources – has been expanding for the last five years with unprecedented annual growth rates of 60 percent amid the average growth rate in the production of electric power around the world at 3.4 percent.

The sum total of investments into the solar energy industry within the last five years has amounted to 520 billion dollars, including 143 billion dollars in the year 2012 alone.

The aggregate production of power by solar plants in 2012 equaled 113 billion kilowatt hours, including 110 billion kilowatt hours generated by photoelectric stations.

According to international specialists, there are enough reasons that precondition such a speedy growth in the interest in searching and raising the efficiency of alternative and renewable energy sources across the globe, notably in the use of energy emitted from the sun for the production of electric and thermal power.

These are primarily the world economy’s annually mounting needs in energy. In addition, the international community’s concerns focus, along with the growing intricacies in the development of new sources of conventional hydrocarbons, that is, oil and gas, on the rapid exhaustion of their reserves.

Yet the most crucial aspect that we barely have the right to disregard is that the use and combustion that has reached colossal volumes of fossil fuel has been inflicting a notable damage to the environment and affecting the health and quality of life of the population, threatening thus the sustainability of future development at the global level.

The way out from the unfolding situation is seen, first, in bolstering the flow of investments into projects designed to boost solar power industry as the most effective and promising source of renewable types of energy.

Second, what is needed is the wide-ranging intensification and government support for scientific and experimental-design innovations as well as encouragement of producers and consumers of solar power. Third, it is essential to secure competitiveness for solar energy industry vis-à-vis the conventional one that is based on the use of hydrocarbons. Without any doubt, this goal becomes more feasible if we take into account that the production of one kilowatt hour of solar electric power used to cost 35 cents back in 2008, while today it costs, according to experts, 11-12 cents on average. Yet in some nations like China and India, the prime cost of one kilowatt hour is projected to be reduced down to 8-9 cents at the photoelectric stations being built there. Put another way, the electric power generated by photoelectric devices in some countries, even lacking traditional privileges and preferences, is capable of competing with energy produced by the combustion of hydrocarbons.

Moreover, there is certain logic in the deliberations of some academics when, analyzing the cycles of recurrent global economic crises, they come to believe that the search for ways out of the destructive downturn leads the world community – quite naturally – to grasp technologies of fundamentally new generation. In other words, they guide to new phases of scientific and technological progress that provides for more dynamic and efficient rates of production growth. In this regard, one can easily come to conclude that the exit from the ongoing global slowdown that started in 2008 is largely contingent on how sooner we will be able to pass on to the new stage of technological breakthrough, primarily in the energy sector.

The discourse also concerns the fact that today, the unreasonably high prices for traditional energy resources, for oil by and large, are one of the principal obstacles for the rehabilitation of economies in the developing countries. The mass introduction of economically efficient sources of photoelectric energy will allow for sustaining the prices for oil in the future within sensible limits that will prove an encouraging factor for an accelerated growth in the developing countries, who currently are forced to spend their limited currency resources on the imports of crude hydrocarbons. To this end, the solar energy can and must become one of the locomotives in the way out of the crisis.

Dear Forum participants!

Let me briefly speak about the efforts being undertaken in Uzbekistan in the use of power emitted from the sun in energy purposes, and also about the factors conditioning the necessity of expanding the scales and practical designation of these processes.

This is dictated for the most part by the steady high rates of development as well as cardinal structural reforms, diversification and modernization of the economy, the advanced growth in the manufacturing industry, the potent modern gas-chemical complex shaping in the country and outfitted with the latest technologies in the deep reprocessing of hydrocarbon and other raw resources. Suffice it to say that notwithstanding the negative impact of the global financial and economic crisis, the gross domestic product in Uzbekistan has been growing at annual rates of more than 8 percent for the last six years.

Within the 2000-2013 period it has multiplied 3.8 times, while the per capita gross domestic product has increased 3.2 times. According to assessments of international financial institutions, the Uzbek economy is going to keep with such high growth rates in the foreseeable future. As the evaluations suggest, the country’s needs in the electric energy will increase in the year 2030 approximately twofold compared to this year’s indicators and will exceed 105 billion kilowatt hours, taking into account the high advancing development rates in the manufacturing industry.

As far as the potential and prospects of solar energy industry in Uzbekistan are concerned, I would like to stress the following. First and foremost, in geographical location and climatic conditions Uzbekistan enjoys an exclusively favorable environment for this to be achieved.

In the number of sunny days in the year, which amounts to more than 320 days, our country is ahead of many regions of the world. As the Asian and World Bank assessments indicate, the gross potential of solar power in Uzbekistan exceeds 51 billion tons in oil equivalent.

These resources, experts suggest, allow for the production of electric power 40 times as much as the annual consumption of power in our country this year.

The research in the use of solar energy was afforded a huge impetus in Uzbekistan in the 1980s, when the scientific-experimental center “Physics-Sun” (Scientific-Production Association) of the Academy of Sciences was built. The institution was unique to Asia and its innovations have enjoyed renown far beyond the borders of our nation.

The current forum’s participants have been granted opportunity to familiarize with that center, for it is part of the forum itinerary, as far as I know.

The scientific complex comprises a huge solar furnace with a 1 megawatt-capacity helio-concentrator, allowing it to reach nearly 3 thousand degrees of temperature and provide for the production of super-clean materials. In addition, it facilitates the conduct of unique scientific research and thermal tests. Today, Uzbekistan wields a considerable potential of scientific and technical specialists, experiment cadres, and a remarkable volume of design-engineering and technological innovations in designing and using the solar power.

The International Institute of Solar Energy has been established in Tashkent this year at the “Physics-Sun” Scientific-Production Association in partnership with the Asian Development Bank. The institution is expected to become a regional center for the conduct of scientific and experimental research, the outcomes of which can be cashed in as promising technologies in the use of solar power.

In cooperation with the ADB, we have embarked on a pilot project for the construction of a solar photoelectric station with a capacity of 100 megawatt in Samarkand region. For a relatively short span of time, a design-technical documentation has been prepared, a land of more than 400 hectares has been allocated, and all practical issues related to the launch of construction works at the facility have been tackled.

In the forthcoming period, we intend to launch construction of some other major solar power plants based on novel highly efficient technologies. To meet these ends, we have deployed state-of-the-art measurement stations in 6 regions of Uzbekistan in cooperation with the ADB, and hence we have been collecting all data essential for the development of thorough projects.

I would like to mention in particular that Uzbekistan possesses the richest reserves in raw materials for the production of photoelectric modules and other equipment for solar energy industry.

Last year, jointly with South Korea-based Neoplant, we launched the operation of a factory to produce technical silicon, with a capacity of 12 thousand tons a year. The second such silicon production plant with a capacity of 5 thousand tons per year is being completed in construction currently at the Angren Special Industrial Zone with the participation of the South Korean Shindong Enercom. This product can potentially become a source of crude for the production of highly efficient photoelectric solar panels.

We are going to launch production of photoelectric panels with an initial capacity of 50 megawatt in the Navoi Free Industrial and Economic Zone in 2014 with the participation of major Chinese companies. An enterprise to manufacture solar thermal collectors with an annual capacity of 50 thousand units is to be built at the Jizzakh Special Industrial Zone.

Tremendous significance is being attached to the extensive introduction of solar power in the household and community housing conditions as well as private house ownership, and to the creation of production and servicing capacities necessary for these purposes.

In our evaluations, the full-scale realization of these technologies will allow for the reduction of load on the power system by 2 billion kilowatt hours in the next few years and secure a local production of thermal energy in around 2 million Gcal, which will in aggregate help to save power resources in the equivalent of more than 250 million dollars every year.

Let me draw your attention to the fact that as part of the program of housing construction in rural areas run jointly with the Asian Development Bank, we have been erecting in excess of 10 thousand modern standard-design individual homes with a total of more than 1.5 million square meters of space.

Within the abovementioned program, we envision to launch a massive construction of technically advanced power-efficient houses with the introduction of solar energy technologies, including those with the use of expertise from European and Asian nations most advanced in this respect.

Within the next few years, we intend to experimentally outfit with solar collectors 1,300 general schools and professional colleges located predominantly in remote areas and nooks. Photoelectric panels will be installed at more than 600 medical units in rural areas.

Summing up the abovementioned, we have every reason to assert that the use of solar power at this stage of development has been transferring from the area of scientific research and experimental innovation to practical application, while the solar power industry, like other types of renewable energy, is turning into a rather competitive and cleanest sorts, methods and ways of producing energy.

With an enormous delight I would like to use this opportunity to convey words of gratitude to every one of you who have gathered in this hall, and in your person to all those who have been making their own well-deserved input into the cause of solar energy to further the high and noble goals of the contemporary civilization.

Dear friends!

Esteemed guests!

I am hopeful that despite the brief time period of your stay in Uzbekistan, you will experience our Uzbek, oriental hospitality and our reverence for you.

I wish you the best of luck in your undertakings. Let me wish you every success in the Asia Solar Energy Forum. I wish you a sound health and wellbeing.

Speech of ADB President Takehiko Nakao at the 6th Meeting of the Asian Solar Energy Forum

His Excellency President Islam Karimov,

Distinguished officials and delegates, ladies and gentlemen; Introduction

On behalf of the Asian Development Bank, the Asia Solar Energy Forum, and all guests, I thank the Government of Uzbekistan for the excellent arrangements made in hosting this event. This is the first time that this prestigious conference is being held in Central Asia.

I am delighted to be in Uzbekistan, a country renowned for its wonderful people, profound history, and rich culture. In 2010, the ADB hosted its 43rd Annual Meeting here in Tashkent. It was at that meeting that Uzbekistan and ADB laid a foundation for strong partnership in solar energy development ̶ a partnership further deepened by this conference.

Before I speak specifically about solar energy, let me briefly discuss Uzbekistan’s economy and the ADB-Uzbekistan development partnership.

The Uzbekistan Economy

I am truly impressed by the progress Uzbekistan has made in the very short period since independence. I congratulate President Karimov and the Government for the hard work they have done to raise the living standards of the Uzbekistan people.

Over the past decade, the growth rates of the Uzbek economy surpassed growth rates of the developed, and many developing, economies in the world. A strong fiscal position with low external debt show the country’s macroeconomic fundamentals are sound. This provides Uzbekistan with a solid platform for making large-scale investments to further raise the living standards. Such investments may include those that enhance and expand the industrial sector, and upgrading of physical and social infrastructure.

In 2012, total investments in Uzbekistan grew more than 14% from the previous year. Foreign investments accounted for more than 22% of total investments. This is a testimony to the success of Uzbekistan’s model of prudent macroeconomic and fiscal management, and the “gradualism” approach to development.

But, like in many other developing countries, particular focus is needed in areas such as higher education, banking and capital markets, information and communication technologies, private sector participation in infrastructure sectors, and better institutional regulatory frameworks to promote private investment. This focus is essential in order for Uzbekistan to continue its transition from a primary resources based economy to a more diversified economy, and from investment-led to productivity-led growth. These changes are necessary to generate employment, support inclusive growth, and successfully transition to higher income status.

Uzbekistan-ADB Partnership

I will now turn to ADB’s partnership with Uzbekistan.

ADB is an active development partner of Uzbekistan and supports the country’s efforts in a broad range of areas. Since the start of ADB operations in 1996, loans to Uzbekistan have reached $3.9 billion. Over the past few years, in addition to its sovereign operations, ADB has developed a strong pipeline of private sector operations as well. Uzbekistan has invested greatly in building modern education and healthcare systems. ADB has supported 7 projects and 1 program in these areas, providing $330 million in loans.

An important part of the Government’s development program is creating and upgrading road and railway infrastructure that provides valuable contribution to regional connectivity, trade and transit. ADB has supported these objectives through 10 projects, with loans totaling $1.17 billion.

Uzbekistan’s policies aim at increasing the share of private sector through developing small and medium-sized enterprises, or SMEs. The share of SMEs in GDP has grown to more than 55 percent in 2012, up from 52 percent in 2011, when the new policy was announced. We are pleased that ADB contributed to the expansion of SMEs with 4 SME support projects, for a total of $170 million.

Another important program is the Comprehensive Rural Housing Development Program which, apart from creating housing for people in rural areas, aims at stimulating SMEs in construction, production of building materials, and related services. This program was highly praised by many participants of the international conference held in Tashkent earlier this year. ADB is supporting this innovative program with a $500 million multi-tranche financing facility.

Uzbekistan is building a modern and efficient energy sector to support its ambitious industrial development objectives, meet the increasing demand for energy resulting from rapid economic growth, as well as improve living standards of the population. ADB’s lending to this sector is $650 million, for supporting the modernization of the Talimarjan power station, extension of transmission lines, introduction of smart metering, and development of institutional capacity.

Cooperation between Uzbekistan and ADB has generated benefits beyond Uzbekistan. We can look, for example, to the ADB-supported Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation, or CAREC initiative. This initiative, in which Uzbekistan is a member, has made considerable progress in planning for connectivity in transportation, energy, and telecommunication networks. Trade flows between the CAREC countries are expected to increase in the years to come. The joint efforts of Uzbekistan and ADB have increased electricity supplies to Afghanistan from Uzbekistan, enabling the residents of Mazar-e-Sharif and Kabul cities to have stable electricity. Cross-border transport links have also been strengthened.

Projections for Asia’s Energy Consumption and Carbon Dioxide Emissions

Let me now turn to the main topic of the conference today which is solar energy development.

Conventional natural resources, such as natural gas, oil, and coal, are finite. The process of generating electricity from them also produces undesirable emissions, including greenhouse gases. This leads to the importance of renewable energy, which is clean, and of unlimited potential.

At the 22nd meeting of the World Energy Congress held last month in Daegu, Republic of Korea, ADB released its report “Asian Energy Outlook”. The report forecasts a sharp growth in Asia’s energy consumption, in line with an expected increase in its share of world GDP from 28.3* percent in 2011 to over 44 percent in 2035, based on an annual average growth of 6 percent for the region. Unfortunately, much of this increase in energy production will be based on fossil fuels. As a consequence, Asia’s carbon-dioxide emissions will increase to over 50 percent of global emissions by 2035 ̶ even though per-capita annual consumption at 1.82 tons of oil equivalent will be lower than world average of 2.17 tons.

The Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (or IPCC) estimates that the global temperature could rise by about 4 degrees Celsius by 2100, with serious negative impacts. For Uzbekistan, this would mean lower agriculture production and water availability, and extreme weather patterns such as droughts and floods. This high carbon development of Asia’s energy sector should be urgently addressed. We must make economic growth less dependent on energy consumption and vigorously pursue technologies to reduce the overall amount of energy needed.

We must then produce this lower level of energy through cleaner means, such as renewable energy resources. Here, I once again wish to congratulate Uzbekistan, and its leadership under President Karimov, for systematically initiating energy efficiency improvement projects as well as solar energy development – one of the first hydrocarbon rich countries to do so.

In 2010, the Government, supported by an ADB loan of $350 million, started implementing the Talimarjan Power Project ̶ an advanced efficiency combined cycle gas turbine power plant. In 2011, ADB provided a $150 million loan for ‘smart’ electricity meters to help the country use its electricity resources more efficiently. And now we stand on the threshold of adding renewable energy to Uzbekistan’s energy mix.

Development of Solar Energy in Uzbekistan

During ADB’s 43rd Annual Meeting held here in Tashkent in 2010, my predecessor Mr. Kuroda, announced the start of ADB’s Asia Solar Energy Initiative. The choice of Tashkent for making this announcement was not coincidental. Uzbekistan has a large land mass, plenty of sunshine, and the highly skilled and educated human resources needed to become a major player in solar energy development in this region. For Uzbekistan, large scale solar energy development can supply clean energy, as well provide high quality jobs, as it seeks to become a technology hub for conducting research, manufacturing, and maintenance, of advanced solar energy systems.

It is with this comprehensive approach in mind that the Government and ADB entered into a multi-track partnership in solar energy development. The first track seeks to identify large-scale, techno-economically feasible, solar power projects. ADB has provided technical assistance for this purpose, and we are pleased to see that Uzbekistan now has identified over 6 sites with a large potential for solar energy capacity.

The first 100 megawatts of this potential will be developed at Samarkhand by Uzbekenergo with ADB’s support. Earlier this week, on the 20th of November, ADB’s Board of Directors approved a loan of $ 110 million from its Asian Development Fund resources to help finance the construction of this facility. This project will be the largest of its kind in Central Asia and one of the largest in the world. My compliments to the experts from Uzbekistan and ADB for their hard work in making this project happen in such a short time.

I understand that the participants of this conference had the opportunity to visit the International Solar Energy Institute’s facilities at Parkent. This afternoon, I will be seeing these facilities myself. ADB provided technical support for establishing the Institute as part of its second track of solar industry development. This second track is to establish an institution that encourages research, and helps develop technical manpower. We hope that the Institute will grow to become a major center for learning in solar technologies. We encourage other development partners, both multilateral and bilateral, public and private sector, to support the Institute.

More broadly, I encourage the governments of other ADB member countries in the region with large solar energy resources, such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Turkmenistan, to comprehensively develop their own solar energy potentials. Regional cooperation will enable development of solar energy resources in a cost-effective and comprehensive way, by taking advantage of market pooling, and electricity networks.

Innovative financing and private sector participation are key to rapid and sustainable development of the solar energy sector in Uzbekistan.

Bringing in the private sector would help leverage additional capital, and bring in innovative design and construction practices, over a long period. ADB looks forward to assisting Uzbekistan in further developing its enabling environment in this regard.

Global Effort, Local Solutions

Since the mid-1990s, when ADB started developing clean energy processes, our motto has been to think globally, but act locally. We must think globally so that we muster all our resources – technological, financial, and human, to fight this battle against climate change. At the same time, we must look to local conditions and local requirements when we apply these global resources, so that the solutions are useful to local communities, and therefore sustainable. It is with this intention that ADB established the Asian Solar Energy Forum, or ASEF, as part of the Asia Solar Energy Initiative. ASEF, which is now registered as a not-for-profit NGO in Tokyo, promotes South-South cooperation and dialogue. It also provides opportunities for experts from developed countries to share their knowledge and expertise with all developing members, to promote collective learning.

The 6th Meeting of ASEF follows a similar pattern. For the first time ever in Central Asia, ASEF has assembled representatives from several International Financial Institutions, along with delegations from both developed and developing countries. Since 2010, ADB has hosted outreach meetings of the ASEF in Manila, Tokyo, Bangkok, and Jodhpur. These meetings have helped disseminate accurate information regarding solar energy potential in Asia, available technologies, project cost trends, and policies for introducing solar energy development.

Based on discussions in these meetings, Thailand, India, and many other developing countries in Asia have developed right policies and projects. The result is that ADB has catalyzed 2,580 megawatts of solar capacity from 2010 to 2013 as against its target of 3,000 MW under the Asia Solar Energy Initiative – an 86 percent success rate.

Today’s meeting of the Forum is also special for another reason. For the first time, we welcome participation from the Islamic Development Bank and the African Development Bank. We expect Africa to be a major player in solar energy development in the years to come. Some parts of Asia and Africa are well suited for solar energy development and these have similar climatic conditions. This makes Asia’s experience more relevant to Africa than those of Europe and North America. This gives both Asia and Africa a mutually beneficial chance to learn from South-South knowledge sharing.

Closing I once again congratulate the Government of Uzbekistan under the leadership of President Karimov, the Asia Solar Energy Forum, and my own staff at ADB, for organizing this landmark conference. My best wishes for a very productive discussion and knowledge sharing.

Thank you.


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