This month saw the sun shining on one of the most gifted nations as far as renewable energy is concerned. A conference attended by many European and other countries was held in Tashkent on the 6th and 7th June, organised by the Ecological Movement of Uzbekistan.
The reason Uzbekistan is so gifted is purely climate. The whole nation burns in the sun all summer and freezes all winter as the cloud cover disappears. Near to Tashkent there is a solar facility now known as The Institute of the Sun. For 6 years this facility worked to create a solar furnace in the French style and a solar observatory as well as the obligatory solar panels. There is a need to blaze a trail in regions such as Iberia or the Sahara, in order that we may send solar power to neighbouring areas that need energy.
The conference was held in Tahkents Oliy Majlis with many representatives from both national and foreign organisations. Using the experience of developed countries, a sustainable fuel and energy resources programme was drawn up. Hydrocarbon fuels, used rationally and new renewable energy resources will play a part as they have to, in the adoption and implementation of a valid and praiseworthy plan.
Gilbert Ahamer of the Austrian Agency for Environment suggested solar energy could soon become the Uzbeks energy source in many parts of the economy and everyday life. For example, the large new photovoltaic development near Samarkand will meet the demands of 100,000 households. It also prevents the emissions of >100,000 tonnes of CO2. We originally mentioned it here in 2015, as the joint operation of the engineering company Uzbekenergo, South Korea and the government of recently re-elected President Islam Karimov.
Irji Zemana of the Czech Republic, also held Uzbekistan as having enormous resources in the field of renewable energy. The country already skilfully uses its natural resources, and has been employing a strong legal framework to ease the burden of innovation in many fields. Special legislation is still needed in drafting new laws and regulations, similar to many environmental laws that have been introduced recently. Christian Jakenak, as Director of Quality and Strategy at a German University of Applied Sciences, was able to stress how dependant we all are of fossil fuels. Where reserves are limited, their negative effect on the environment can be added to a total lack of vision in using them. With the intrinsic Uzbek political and macroeconomic stability, large scale investment has flowed into the country and will, encouragingly, continue.
Wind power, geothermal energy and mini hydropower plants are to complement the solar resources that are being exploited by private companies, entrepreneurs and civil institutions. Stefan Prisner is the UNDP Resident Representative in Uzbekistan. He spoke to consolidate the ideas emanating from COP21 in Paris last year. Energy efficiency is the key, with the conference impetus emanating from expansion of knowledge and familiarisation of the public with alternative energy.
Obviously, it seems that with such natural resources, the Uzbeks can look forward to a sustainable energy future. Prosperity for many such nations will depend on this kind of UNDP advocacy and the kind of international cooperation that has been seen there over many years as the relatively new nation becomes a powerful member of the progressive Central Asian community.