Kazakhstan to promote investment in renewable energy

By Aynur Jafarova

Kazakhstan intends to encourage investment in 'green economy' by passing new legislation.

The country will develop a new law aimed at supporting investments in the renewable energy development sector in the middle of this year, Minister of Environment Protection Nurlan Kapparov told reporters on Thursday.

Kapparov said the government aims to provide attractive conditions for a transition to the 'green economy'.

"In general, the investment climate for all investors in our country is good. However, the 'green economy' requires special conditions. There are a lot of technical issues and we need a law that guarantees a return on investment. In other words, the state should reliably buy energy that will be produced from the sun or wind energy," the minister said.

According to Kapparov, the new bill being developed by the Kazakh government will define all the guarantees for the purchase of power produced from renewable sources.

"We have adopted the German model as a basis. This is a so-called law on fixed fees. It is eagerly awaited by many foreign investors, including Western and Asian companies," Kapparov said.

As previously reported, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev set the task to receive 50 percent of the country's energy from renewable sources by 2050.

Earlier Kapparov said that Kazakhstan has every condition available for a 50-percent transition to renewable energy by 2050.

In late January, an action plan was adopted for the development of renewable energy sources for the period from 2013 to 2020.

Renewable energy, which is commonly called alternative energy, is an alternative to fossil fuels. It comes from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, and geothermal heat, which are naturally replenished.

Experts believe that Kazakhstan has to turn to alternative energy sources by 2030, as the traditional sources are being exhausted and their prices are rising. They say about 20-30 percent of domestically consumed energy can be saved through the use of alternative energy.

Given Kazakhstan's natural conditions, the most promising alternative energy sector is probably wind-power generation. Relevant studies conducted in the Kazakh regions showed that wind-power generation has great potential.

The volume of electricity generated by the facilities using renewable energy sources increased by 6 percent in Kazakhstan in 2012.