By BBC Monitoring
A total of 250 small power plants will be built in Uzbekistan in order to satisfy domestic demand for energy, privately-owned news website Gazeta.uz reported on 19 January.
It noted that this was announced at a meeting held by President Shavkat Mirziyoyev the same day to discuss improving the country's energy supply.
"In all, 250 promising sites have been identified for the construction of micro hydroelectric power stations in Uzbekistan in order to increase the capacity of hydro energy generation," the report said.
"According to calculations, the future plants will be able to generate 675m kWh of electricity and save 200m cubic metres of gas a year," it added.
During the meeting, the president instructed officials to "build hybrid plants, that is, based on wind and solar sources, in free areas around hydroelectric power plants", the website went on to say.
"Thanks to the ready availability of the infrastructure, the construction of such stations will cost less," it noted.
In recent years, Uzbekistan has been fighting chronic shortages of natural gas and electricity, especially in winter. The latest energy crisis, already the second this season alone, began with an abnormal cold snap following heavy snows across the country a week ago. Households in Tashkent have experienced unprecedented disruption in energy supplies, with videos of angry citizens left without heat and power dominating Uzbek social media.
"As for a stable energy supply to residents, the president noted the need to use all available reserves and not to miss the deadlines for implementing new and promising projects," the report said.
"Tasks were defined to increase daily energy production when there is a shortage of energy; fair and efficient distribution of resources; systematic delivery of energy; and prompt elimination of interruptions," it noted.
Quoting the presidential press service, the report also said that thanks to 27 projects, costing $500m, implemented in this area in Uzbekistan over the past few years, facilities producing an additional 260 megawatts of electricity had been put into operation. "This means that 2bn cubic metres of natural gas will be saved annually," the website said.
Source: Gazeta.uz website, Tashkent, in Russian 1704 GMT 19 Jan 23