Kazakhstan To Push For Renewable Energy Despite Low Oil Prices

Kazakhstan plans to aggressively invest in renewable energy in the next decade inspite of the current and prevailing low oil prices.

Future Energy Forum in Astana, Energy Minister Kanat Bozumbayev said that his country will gradually increase the share of renewable energy in its energy mix till 2020 but will look to increase its share more aggressively between 2020 and 2030.

The Kazakh government started developing renewable energy projects when global oil prices were at $120 per barrel and will continue to do so even if they fall to $20 per barrel, Bozumbayev asserted.

The Central Asian country currently has an installed renewable energy capacity of 252 MW from 48 projects based on wind, biomass, hydro and solar power projects. By the end of the decade, the government hopes to add 23 solar, 20 wind and 10 biomass power projects.

In 2014, Kazakhstan set a target that will see renewable energy projects contributing 3% to the country’s energy mix by 2020. This would require the country to install more than 3,000 MW of renewable energy capacity by the decade’s end. This will include 28 solar power projects with more than 700 MW in capacity.

By 2050, the country aims to have 50% of the total power generation from renewable energy sources. Currently, 80% of the country electricity is generated from coal. The over-dependence on coal and other fossil fuels has led to a 40% increase in the country’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions since 2006. In 2010, the Kazakh government announced a voluntary plan to reduce its GHG emissions to 15% below the 1992 levels by 2020.

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