Betting on renewable energy: can Kazakhstan become carbon neutral by 2060?

Betting on renewable energy: can Kazakhstan become carbon neutral by 2060?

Kazakhstan has set itself an ambitious goal: to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. In recent years, it has increased the share of renewable energy in total electricity production to 4%. It is on the sun and the wind that this vast country relies in its green energy transition.

Astana Expo 2017 is one of the largest wind power plants in the country, with 29 wind turbines with a total capacity of 100 megawatts producing green energy 40 km from the capital of Kazakhstan.

“Studies confirm that in Kazakhstan, the wind energy potential is about one trillion kilowatt hours per year.” Says Bagdat Oral, President of CAEPCO JSC. “That is to say, there is potential and it must be developed with a balanced approach. If we talk specifically about our wind farm in Astana, the production during the year is around 300 million kilowatt hours. To understand, this is proportional to the consumption of about 80,000 residential apartments.”

The wind turbines imported from Europe are equipped with an ice detection system and operate safely in the extremely hot summers and cold winters of Kazakhstan. The green energy produced here reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 270,000 tonnes per year.

Green electricity is supplied to the national grid. The State now guarantees its purchase from companies for 20 years and indexes the rates. Since 2018, Kazakhstan has had an electronic auction system to attract investment in the renewable energy sector.

“More than 200 companies participated in this transparent electronic auction, from 9 countries of the world, more than 60 contracts were signed, which means that Kazakhstan attracts international investors in green energy”. Explains Nurlan Kapenov, Chairman of the Board of the Qazaq Green Association.

The international energy company Eni has been present in Kazakhstan since 1992. Four years ago, Eni Plénitude, via Arm Wind, started investing here in renewable energies. Badamsha 1 in the Aktobe region was the first wind farm built by the company in the world. This year, the construction of the second wind farm is completed.

“As a company, we bring investment, technology and industrial capacity to realize such large green projects, which are in line with the country’s decarbonization and energy transition objectives.” Says Alex Stillavato, the general manager of Arm Wind, Eni Plénitude.

It is one of the largest investment projects and another pioneer of Kazakhstan’s green energy transition – the SES Saran solar power plant in the Karaganda region built by the German company Goldbeck Solar. Launched in 2019, it produces more than 125 million kilowatt hours per year.

“The uniqueness of this project is that it is the first ever large solar power plant in Kazakhstan and the entire Central Asian region,” says Evgeniy Grebennikov, Managing Director of SES Saran LLP. “It was the very first positive message to foreign investors to invest in solar energy in Kazakhstan.

These solar panels belong to the latest generation and do not have a metal frame. It allows snow – and there is a lot of it in Kazakhstan – and rain not to accumulate on the surface but to slide safely down to the ground. Today there are about 130 renewable energy installations in Kazakhstan, and the country’s potential is enormous.

Bolat Akchulakov is the government’s energy minister. from Kazakhstan. “The bet is on the wind, the bet is on the sun, on hydroelectric power stations, there is great potential there. We follow technological developments closely. And our scientists are also thinking about how to make renewable energy sources a full-fledged replacement for fossil fuel stations in the future. This is the biggest challenge not only for Kazakhstan but for the whole world today”.

This futuristic mosque in Astana gets all its light and heat from its solar panels. These small-scale sustainable projects set the direction of green energy for modern life in Kazakhstan and are important to locals.

“It is called an eco-mosque because it provides energy,” explains Rashid Alpisbayev, imam of the Iriskeldy Kazhy mosque. “The biggest advantage is that there is no harm to the environment or people, only benefits.”

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