Kazakhstan ups energy production from renewable resources

By Aynur Karimova

Kazakhstan, an energy-rich Central Asian nation with huge hydrocarbon resources increased the electricity generation from renewable resources by 22 percent in 2015 compared to 2014.

Kazakhstan's electricity production from alternative energy resources reached 704 million kilowatt / hours last year, according to the report by the country's Energy Ministry on implementation of the strategic plan for 2014-2018.

Total electricity production in Kazakhstan in 2015 amounted to 90.8 billion kilowatt / hours, which is 3.3 percent less than in 2014.

In 2015, Kazakhstan put 14 new facilities into operation. These facilities with a total capacity of 119.9 MW are in charge of production of energy from renewable resources.

They include Burnoye solar power plant in the Zhambyl region with a capacity of 50 MW, Yereimentau wind power plant in the Akmola region with a capacity of 45 MW, Intumak hydropower plant in the Karaganda region with a capacity of 600 kilowatts, a wind power plant in the Kyzylzhar district of the North Kazakhstan region with a capacity of 2 MW, Akbai solar power plant in the Sairam district of the South Kazakhstan region with a total capacity of 1 MW, Ochistnoy solar power plant in the Shymkent city of the South Kazakhstan region with a capacity of 0.95 MW, Ryszhan hydropower plant in the South Kazakhstan region with a capacity of 2 MW, Karash hydropower plant in the Almaty region with a capacity of 125 kilowatts and Upper Baskan hydropower plant in the Almaty region with a capacity of 4.2 MW.

Also, the capacity of the Vista International wind power plant in the Zhambyl region was expanded from 12 MW to 21 MW.

A clean energy is a very important issue for energy-rich Kazakhstan and Central Asia as whole, where it is of particular relevance.

Experts estimate that Kazakhstan enjoys 2,200-3,000 hours of sunshine per year, while the annual solar radiation energy is 1,300-1,800 kilowatt hours per square meter in the central and southern regions of the country and 1,000-1,500 kilowatt hours per square meter in northern and western regions, which creates quite favorable conditions for development of solar energy.

In this regard, the country may turn to alternative energy sources by 2030, as traditional sources are being exhausted and their prices are rising. They claim that about 20-30 percent of energy consumption can be saved by using alternative energy resources.

Taking these forecasts into account, the Kazakh government is interested in involving renewable energy sources as a part of the country's energy balance, reducing emissions into the environment, and bringing these standards to the European level by 2030.

As part of the concept for transition of Kazakhstan to “green economy,” the volume of electricity generated from the renewable energy sources is planned to reach 3 percent of the total volume of electricity by 2020 and 10 percent by 2030.

The country has also adopted an action plan on the development of renewable energy sources for a period from 2013 to 2020.

Kazakhstan plans to commission 106 facilities to generate energy from renewable energy sources by late 2020. The country will commission 28 solar power plants with a capacity of 713.5 megawatts in Almaty, Zhambyl, Atyrau, Karaganda, Kyzylorda, South Kazakhstan and Mangistau provinces. The total capacity of these facilities will amount to around 3.055 megawatts.

As of January 1, 2016, some 48 facilities with a total capacity of 251.55 MW use renewable energy resources.

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Aynur Karimova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Aynur_Karimova

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