The Ministry of Environment (Minister Han Wha-jin) sent a delegation headed by Yoo Je-chul, Vice Minister of Environment, to Uzbekistan. The delegation attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the ‘Tashkent landfill gas power plant’ held in Akhangaran, Uzbekistan, on January 26, 2023. The ‘Tashkent landfill gas power plant’ scheduled to be completed in 2024, is Central Asia’s first Public-Private Partnership(PPP) for a landfill gas power plant (project led by Sejin G&E). It is meaningful because the project is the first case in which the Korean government invested in overseas environmental projects to reduce GHG emissions and may use the project to offset local carbon emissions. GHG emissions can be reduced by 720,000 tons per year and a total of 10.8 million tons over 15 years by generating electricity from the power plant using landfill gas (or methane) as fuel. The Ministry of Environment invested KRW 2.7 billion in the project, including the costs for building the facility, and is expected to earn 110,000 tons of carbon credits over ten years by being recognized by the UN for offsetting the country’s GHG emissions.
The delegation departed from South Korea on January 24, 2023, the last day of the Lunar New Year holiday, after hearing from Sejin G&E about delays in acquiring related licenses and permits, such as power purchases. At the inauguration ceremony of the Green Industry Alliance held on January 19, Chairman Lee Gyeong-yeon of Sejin G&E requested the environment ministry to help negotiate with the government of Uzbekistan since the project is being delayed due to difficulties in negotiating directly with the government of another country.
On January 25, Vice Minister of Environment Yoo Je-chul, head of the delegation, met with Azim I. Akhmedkhadjaev, the First Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Energy of Uzbekistan. The vice minister asked for full cooperation, stating that the Tashkent landfill gas power plant is an intergovernmental cooperation project in which the Korean government is very interested. Vice Minister Azim replied that the necessary licenses and permits for Korean companies, such as power purchases, would be completed within April 2023. Accordingly, the groundbreaking ceremony was held on the same day. At the groundbreaking ceremony, the Ministry of Natural Resources; the Ministry of Energy; the Ministry of Investment, Industry, and Trade; the Tashkent region, and Korean companies signed the ‘roadmap for a landfill gas power plant.’
On January 25, Vice Minister Yoo met Aziz Abdukhakimov, Minister of Natural Resources of Uzbekistan, and signed a Statement of Intent (SOI) for cooperation in the green industry sector. The objective is to strengthen the environmental cooperation between the two countries to provide an opportunity to conclude a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in the future. At the meeting, Vice Minister Yoo and Minister Abdukhakimov agreed to fully cooperate to finalize a loan agreement for a complex waste management project, including building five sanitary waste landfills and six sorting and transfer stations in Jizzakh, Uzbekistan, in 2023.
Starting with the delegation, the Ministry of Environment plans to accompany companies anywhere in the world to promote the excellence of Korea’s green technology and support the winning of overseas contracts.
Vice Minister Yoo Je-chul said, “The Korean delegation’s visit to Uzbekistan demonstrates the Environment Ministry’s will to act as a salesman for the green industry directly.” Vice Minister Yoo added, “We will do our best to support Korean companies to expand overseas so that they can play a role as a global leader in the green industry.”