Kazakhstan Developing Renewable Energy

Kazakhstan Developing Renewable Energy
Kazakhstan Developing Renewable Energy

The need to gradually transition from hydrocarbon sources of energy, like gas, oil and coal, to renewable ones is understood throughout the whole world now, and Kazakhstan is no exception.

Kazakhstan is building renewable energy facilities not only because its hydrocarbon energy sources are limited, but also because its Soviet-era equipment is wearing out, Central Asia Online reported.In 2014, Kazakhstan is expected to generate 97.9 billion kWH of power. More than $590 million in total was invested in renewable energy facilities, including $120 million of Kazakhstani government funds and 85.6 $470 million in foreign loans, according to the 2010-2014 program for developing power plants in Kazakhstan.

Over the past five years, Kazakhstan has completed 16 renewable energy facilities: it built 7 small hydroelectric plants, 6 wind farms, and 3 solar power stations. The power stations collectively produce 32MW of electricity.

This year alone, "nine new alternative energy plants, which will be operational before the end of 2014, will collectively produce 113MW of electricity," the energy ministry said in a statement. Kazakhstan is an ideal location for solar power plants.

The south basks in 3,000 hours of sunshine per year, the government estimates. Solar energy is already being used in Almaty, South Kazakhstan, and Zhambyl oblasts. During the first 9 months of 2014, solar power plants' output reached 1.7m kWh.

The new stage in the development of alternative energy started in 2013 with the passage of two long-term policies: the strategy for transitioning to a green economy and a 2013-2020 plan to develop alternative and renewable energy sources. During the first nine months of 2014, renewable energy facilities produced 346m kWh of electricity, which represents only 0.5% of Kazakhstan's total output, according to the energy ministry. By 2020, Kazakhstan is planning to have 106 renewable energy facilities capable of generating 3,055MW in operation, according to the 2013-2020 plan.