Opening Remarks for Central Asia Clean Energy Forum Regional Mission Director Lawrence Hardy

Speeches Shim

Monday, September 19, 2022

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. On behalf of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), it is my pleasure and honor to welcome you to the USAID Central Asia Clean Energy Forum. 

First, I would like to thank our Central Asian government partners, Vice and Deputy Energy Ministers, and all colleagues present, for your attendance here today. 

The United States and Central Asian governments share an important and common vision: to improve the economic prosperity and well-being of all Central Asian people.

At the same time, all our governments are trying to tackle one of the biggest challenges of our era⁠—the global climate crisis.

With electricity production globally accounting for just over 40 percent of total energy sector CO2 emissions, any efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change must include modernization of electricity systems. 

Over three decades, USAID and Central Asia have cooperated to modernize the electricity sector, better manage natural resources, and find innovative ways to mitigate and adapt to climate change. We’ve worked closely with you to improve the performance of electric utilities, promote investment in clean energy, and expand cross-border electricity trade. But there is still much to be done.

The development of clean energy across Central Asia is a crucial part of this modernization, which USAID is supporting through its flagship energy activity, Power Central Asia—a $40 million regional energy program that is assisting the five Central Asian countries to cooperate and meet their national energy priorities, improve energy security, and build economic prosperity.

We are at a critical juncture when it comes to reform and transition of the energy sector. The need for improved energy security, trends in the global energy market, and climate change are driving reform. Today we have an opportunity to create smart, forward-leaning public policies that will yield a diverse, secure, and climate conscious energy sector.

USAID has more than 30 years of partnership with the countries of Central Asia, and—as outlined in our new Climate Change Strategy through 2030—we are actively aligning our development portfolios with countries’ climate change mitigation strategies to advance equitable and ambitious actions to confront the climate crisis.

I applaud our Central Asian government partners for their clean energy efforts thus far.

Like the United States, your countries have set ambitious targets to achieve carbon neutrality in the coming decades. 

For example, Kazakhstan aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060 and has the largest capacity of renewable energy generation in the region. 

Similarly, Uzbekistan is significantly ramping up its plans to develop alternative energy sources, including solar, hydro and wind, to produce electricity with low-carbon emissions. It already has a very strong pipeline of renewable energy projects. 

In both the Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan, hydropower already generates more than 80 percent and 90 percent of electricity, respectively, and both governments have committed to development of solar and wind resources with major reductions in CO2 emissions in the coming decades. 

Meanwhile, Turkmenistan is in the process of setting up its low carbon targets and is assessing methane emission reduction opportunities in the oil and gas sector.  Turkmenistan is also exploring its wind and solar resources that are at least on par with its neighbors, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

We see tremendous potential for all five Central Asian countries to come together to form a well-functioning Central Asian electricity market. A common market can greatly increase stability and efficiency, while effectively combating climate change and reducing air pollution.  

A strong regional energy market can help protect Central Asia against shocks in the energy sector by maximizing the deployment of clean and renewable energy and harnessing the unique advantages of each Central Asian country.

For these reasons, energy is a critical area of U.S. engagement in the region, and we are supporting a range of trade, assistance, and investment efforts to enhance energy security and support the clean energy transition and sustainable energy development.

Within USAID’s technical assistance, and indeed at this event, is a strong focus on innovation as part of the national and regional energy transition.

The Central Asia Clean Energy Forum brings together key players in the Central Asian energy sector such as yourselves to exchange ideas on new technologies, business models and investment strategies to help us make the much-needed transition to more clean energy—in support of prosperity and sustainable development. 

Whether you are a policy maker, utility, technology company executive, or investor, you all play a critical role in this transition. 

I encourage you to use this event to exchange ideas and find new areas for cooperation.

Thank you all for attending this important forum, and I wish us all productive discussions.

Issuing Country 

Last updated: October 13, 2022

Share This Page