Austria Promotes Key Projects for Renewable Energies in Central Asia

PeopleOther ♦ Published: June 10, 2024; 14:59 ♦ (Vindobona)

High-ranking representatives from Central Asia, Europe, and the Middle East as well as private investors are gathering in Vienna at the invitation of the World Bank to hold the International Energy Investment Forum. The event is being held in cooperation with the government of the Kyrgyz Republic and other international financial institutions such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Investment Bank (EIB).

Austria's Finance Minister Magnus Brunner talks about the promotion of key renewable energy projects in Central Asia at the Kyrgyz Republic International Energy Investment Forum in Vienna. / Picture: © BKA / Schrötter / Flickr Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0 DEED)

The two-day forum focused on sustainable energy systems and the future of the energy industry in Central Asia. More than 200 delegates attended this important meeting. The focus was on the progress made by the Kyrgyz Republic in its energy reforms and the presentation of investment opportunities amounting to 16 billion US dollars, which are to flow into hydro and solar energy projects in particular.

Austria is playing a crucial role in the realization of these plans through its technical and political support. Finance Minister Magnus Brunner emphasized the importance of this cooperation: “The strategic cooperation in projects such as the Kambarata-1 hydropower plant illustrates our joint commitment to a sustainable future. I am convinced that our continued partnership will significantly strengthen regional clean energy capacities while accelerating economic development in Central Asia. Austria's expertise in hydropower technology, especially in pumped storage technology, is a valuable resource that we are happy to share with our partners in Central Asia."

The Kambarata-1 hydropower project is a central focus of the forum. This significant project, supported by close cooperation between Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan, reflects the new era of cooperation in Central Asia to ensure both energy and water security across the region. "Today's discussions and exchange of best practices provide a solid basis for further cooperation. We are proud to contribute to projects that not only increase energy efficiency but also strengthen economic and social development,” added Brunner.

The Kyrgyz Republic is on the verge of a significant transformation of its energy sector by utilizing its great potential in hydropower and solar energy. The goal is to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. The planned clean energy projects are expected to more than double the country's energy supply, ensure a year-round, uninterrupted power supply, and strengthen energy and water security across Central Asia.

The World Bank and other development partners are committed to helping the Kyrgyz Republic develop a modern energy sector that will attract private investment and transform the country into an upper middle-income economy by 2040. The World Bank's new Country Partnership Framework (CPF), which sets out the institution's strategy for supporting the Kyrgyz Republic from 2024 to 2028, prioritizes energy as one of the key sectors for building a more competitive and resilient economy.

In line with this vision, the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic and the World Bank have organized the International Energy Investment Forum. Supported by the Central Asia Water & Energy Program (CAWEP), the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP), and the Austrian government, this high-level event aimed to showcase progress in energy sector reforms and discuss key investment opportunities, such as the Kambarata-1 hydropower plant. These projects will leverage financing opportunities to accelerate the transition to clean energy, improve regional connectivity, and optimize water-energy management in Central Asia.

The Central Asia Water & Energy Program (CAWEP) is a partnership between the World Bank, the European Union, Switzerland (through SECO), and the United Kingdom. It works to improve the framework for regional cooperation on water and energy security in Central Asia under a changing climate. The program supports the development of data-driven regional narratives and innovative analysis, builds institutional capacity, promotes investment, and provides a platform for high-level political and technical discussions on water, energy, and climate cooperation in Central Asia.

Austria's commitment and technical expertise are crucial to the success of these projects. Through partnership and the exchange of know-how, Central Asia can use its energy resources more efficiently and at the same time drive economic development and social progress. The International Energy Investment Forum in Vienna has thus laid the foundation for a future-proof and sustainable energy economy in Central Asia.

Austrian Ministry of Finance

World Bank