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Betting on renewables: can Kazakhstan become carbon neutral by 2060?

Kazakhstan has set an ambitious goal – to reach carbon neutrality by 2060. In recent years it has brought the share of renewable energy in total electricity production to 4 percent. It is the sun and the wind that this vast country counts on in its green energy transition.

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

“Studies confirm that in Kazakhstan, the wind energy potential is about one trillion kilowatt hours per year.” Says Bagdat Oral, Chairman Of CAEPCO JSC. “That is, there is potential and it must be developed with a balanced approach. If we talk specifically about our wind farm in Astana the generation during the year is about 300 million kilowatt-hours. For understanding, this is commensurate with the consumption of about 80,000 residential apartments.”

Wind turbines brought here from Europe, are equipped with an ice detection system and operate safely in Kazakhstan’s extremely hot summers and cold winters. The green energy produced here reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 270,000 tons annually.

Green electricity is supplied to the national grid. The state now guarantees its redemption from enterprises for 20 years and indexes tariffs. Since 2018, Kazakhstan has had a system of electronic auctions to attract investment in the renewable energy sector.

“More than 200 companies have taken part in these electronic transparent auctions, from 9 countries of the world, more than 60 contracts have been signed, which means that Kazakhstan attracts international investors into green energy.” Explains Nurlan Kapenov, Chairman Of The Board of, Qazaq Green Association.

International energy company Eni has been present in Kazakhstan since 1992. Four years ago Eni Plenitude through Arm Wind started to invest here in renewable energy. Badamsha 1 in the Aktobe region was the first wind farm built by the company worldwide. This year the construction of the second wind farm has been completed.

“As a company, we bring investments, technology, and industrial capacity to realise such big green projects, which are in line with the country’s decarbonisation and energy transition targets”. Says Alex Stillavato, the Managing Director of Arm Wind, Eni Plenitude.

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

“The uniqueness of this project lies in the fact that this is the very first large solar power plant in Kazakhstan and the entire Central Asian region.” Says Evgeniy Grebennikov, General Director of SES Saran LLP. “This was the very first positive message to foreign investors to invest in solar energy in Kazakhstan.”

Those solar panels belong to the latest generation and do not have any metal frame. It allows the snow – and there is a lot of it in Kazakhstan – and the rain not to accumulate on the surface but to slide safely down to the ground. There are now around 130 renewable energy facilities in Kazakhstan, and the country’s potential is huge.

Bolat Akchulakov, is the Energy Minister, for the Govt. of Kazakhstan. “The bet is on the wind, the bet is on the sun, on hydroelectric power plants, there is a very big potential there. We are closely watching technological development. 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 futurist mosque in Astana is getting all its light and heat from its solar panels. Such small-scale sustainable projects set the green energy direction for Kazakhstan’s modern life and are important for locals.

“It is called an eco-mosque because it provides itself with energy.” Explains Rashid Alpisbayev, Imam of the Iriskeldy Kazhy Mosque. “The greatest thing is that there is no harm either to the environment or to the population, only benefits.”



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