BECAUSE WHY NOT?

Kazakhstan 2015 | MINING & ENERGY | B2B: ALTERNATIVE ENERGY

Kazakhstan needn't worry about showing up to the party without enough natural resource potential, and Expo 2017 will be a good opportunity to show off its new technologies.

Dr. Zhomart Mominbayev
DR. ZHOMART MOMINBAYEV
Chairman
Samruk-Green Energy
Vyacheslav Sovetskiy
VYACHESLAV SOVETSKIY
CEO
ASTANA SOLAR

What is Kazakhstan's green energy potential?

ZHOMART MOMINBAYEV According to the experts, the potential of the green power industry in Kazakhstan exceeds 1 trillion KWh a year. Of this, the wind power capacity is estimated to be 920 billion KWh a year. This figure was highlighted by the adviser of the UNDP/GEF project for energy efficiency, Gennadiy Doroshin, at the International Green Bridge 2013 conference. This figure is also 10 times more than the annual consumption in the entire country.

VYACHESLAV SOVETSKIY Renewable energy and solar energy in particular cannot be developed in Kazakhstan without government support. The tariffs for traditional energy are increasing, while those for renewable energy are in decline. This will be the case for the foreseeable future. The legislation is in place. Recent amendments are encouraging business activity in this area. There is a specific index prescribed by law: by 2020 renewables must account for 3%, and this is a challenging goal. Currently, the rate is less than 1%. But this number will keep increasing because we are opening new capacities, and we will keep opening them in the course of coming years. The average number of peak sun-hours per year is 1,300. In southern Kazakhstan, the number of peak sun-hours reaches 1,600-1,800 hours per year compared to an average of about 1,000 in Europe. The potential is huge. Given that there are some regions like Zhambolsk that rely heavily on imported power, solar energy could reduce this burden and accelerate the development of SMEs. Specifically, agriculture can benefit greatly from solar power.

What is the importance of establishing partnerships and JVs with local companies and international players?

ZM Our intention is to promote the Samruk Energy brand in the international arena through collaboration with the global market leaders in developing renewable projects outside Kazakhstan. Recently, we have been discussing partnership opportunities with a well-known French company in the wind and solar segment, and we have signed a MoU. This is a great opportunity to promote Samruk Energy internationally. We also have an innovation research team within Samruk that works on developing high-tech, energy-efficient solutions. We are designing a driver which will enable LED systems to work longer in the extreme weather conditions. R&D plays a pivotal role in our activity.

How are you promoting renewables throughout the country?

VS We have an MoU with Nazarbayev University, which runs a research center on renewables. Obviously, we work very closely with its staff and they visit our power plants. In the foreseeable future Nazarbayev University is planning to launch a 2 MW solar power plant. Our company is interested in a variety of topics, and recently held an energy storage exhibition. Astana Solar is ready to work with various businesses regarding inverters and other components for solar power plants. We also work with important international brands such as the Solar Engineering and Manufacturing Association (SEMA) in terms of knowledge transfer. On September 1st—traditionally the beginning of the school year—we held a class at a high school talking about renewable energy. This is actually the most effective way to promote renewables. We participate in numerous festivals and workshops and international exhibitions. Astana Solar has several bulk buyers, but we prefer individual buyers who purchase 1-5 kW units because it results in a synergistic effect. For example, some groups, such as hunters, fishermen, and farmers need mobile power plants. Another viable application is historic buildings and sites situated in remote areas. As for the Expo, President Nazarbayev emphasized that the Expo will be held not only in Astana, but in other parts of Kazakhstan. That means developing city infrastructure, and implementing energy saving technologies.