What were your impressions of Kazakhstan's hosting of the Expo 2017: Future Energy?
ILIA ELOSHVILI Expo is one of the most remarkable events on the global calendar, and Astana's hosting was one of the most successful to-date. Georgia has participated in previous Expos, such as in Milan 2015; however, Expo 2017 was one of the most important because it was focused around energies of the future. Green and sustainable energy is perhaps the most vital topic in today's globalized world, not only for the economy, but also for political and social life as well. In this sense, the subject of the Expo was absolutely appropriate and relevant for this discussion. More importantly, technically, it was organized in the best possible way by both the government of Kazakhstan and the actual organizers. Georgia participated and had the opportunity to be acquainted with new technologies from more than 100 countries. At the same time, we were proud to present our own potential in renewable energies, working with specialist companies in this field and representing our country in the best possible way.
SUHAIL MOHAMMED AL MAZROUI I would like to congratulate the Republic of Kazakhstan for hosting the Expo. It was well organized and the theme was particularly relevant. I visited the Kazakhstan pavilion, and quite simply, it was remarkable. Second, hosting such an event has paved the way for a very successful KazEnergy Forum in Astana. I would like to congratulate the organizers; it was an excellent gathering where leaders from all over the world looked at the challenges for the future across the energy sector. For us in the UAE, we see the future in green energy, namely a balance between hydrocarbon and non-hydrocarbon sources. We will require all forms of energy, and Kazakhstan is on a similar track. We have a common view on incorporating renewables into the energy matrix. Both of our countries are oil and gas exporters, so for us, it is important to achieve that balance. In discussion with our international partners, we focus on our experience in developing the energy strategy for UAE 2050, according to which we plan to establish an equal balance between fossil and green energy sources.
What opportunities do you see in further developing energy relations with Kazakhstan?
IE Georgia's cooperation with Kazakhstan in the energy sector has been growing continuously for over two decades now. Kazakhstan invests heavily in Georgia's renewable energy potential, distribution companies, as well as ports and logistics sector. This solid relationship we have forged will continue and increase in the coming years. There are several reasons for this, not least our reliable cooperation in the energy field and other economic sectors. In addition, it is important to remember that we are geographically situated close to each other and share many historical bonds as well. Socially even, in Kazakhstan, the level of appreciation for Georgian culture is astonishing. It is touching for us to see such respect from ordinary Kazakhstanis and, perhaps more importantly, these bonds can act as a foundation for us to further develop relations between our governments and the private sector.
SMAM In the foreseeable future, Dubai will focus heavily on energy and particularly sustainable energy as a possible theme for the next Expo in 2020. As such, we are currently in the process of transition, and this is an important element of our relations with Kazakhstan today. In Kazakhstan as well, energy is a key priority for the government, and we can expect great things from this sector in the coming years. It is safe to say that, today, we are increasingly witnessing how energy is a key issue discussed at various international events, which proves that without a well-functioning energy sector we cannot have stable development in general. For this reason, we need to make all possible efforts to work out strategies that will let us achieve sustainable, balanced energy matrices in order to achieve our goals and hopes.
KIMMO TIILIKAINEN It is true that we have well-established political relations: several ministers have visited Kazakhstan, while the Kazakhstani Minister of Energy has also visited Finland. We have an intergovernmental commission for economic cooperation and that is working for energy. Both sides have noticed that there are many common interests, and we have done a few things in the clean energy field and in terms of renewable energy efficiency in Finland that could work in Kazakhstan. Many of the technologies we have developed and implemented in Finland can be used in Kazakhstan as well. For example, we share a fairly similar, cold climate in the winter and our district heating technologies could be useful here. Regarding renewables, it is fruitful to compare our experiences as Kazakhstan has its own successes and strategies. Specifically, our experiences with smart grids can be of particular interest to Kazakhstan and will be something that will help save energy in the future. Losses in the Finnish electricity grid are remarkably low compared to other countries. We achieved this by planning the grid, optimizing it, and adjusting the power supply from different sources according to the consumption. These solutions offer huge opportunities because saving energy and improving energy efficiency also means saving money. We are successful in energy efficiency and all forms of green technologies because our government has set a target to be forerunners in the green economy and clean technologies, and we are, therefore, investing a great deal in R&D to bring new solutions. Our companies are interested in that as well, because this is a global trend that has great market demand throughout the world. What we are implementing now creates a stable investment environment as well as a stable environment for the development of clean solutions for the coming decades. It is essential that the private sector finds its own interest; at the political level, we can help create a favorable environment and pave the way for companies, though they are the ones doing the actual work.