Kazakhstan Begins Transition to ‘Green’ Economy

Jun 12. Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan Begins Transition to 'Green' EconomyHalf of Kazakhstan’s Electricity will come from Alternative Sources and Renewables by 2050, According to Presidential Decree.

Renewable and alternative energy sources will provide 50 percent of all electricity produced in Kazakhstan by 2050, according to a Decree signed by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev on May 30. The goal is part of Nazarbayev’s broad Strategy Kazakhstan-2050 initiative, which is designed to modernize and diversify the nation’s carbon-reliant economy.

The 2050 plan calls for the aggressive development of Kazakhstan’s alternative energy generation as well as water resource, agriculture and waste management sectors. It also contains measures aimed at reducing carbon emissions and increasing energy efficiency in the industrial, housing, utilities and transport sectors.

Kazakhstan’s Minster of Environmental Protection Nurlan Kapparov spelled out the plan at a June 5th briefing at the Central Communications Service. “If domestic natural gas prices remain high, 11 percent of our electricity will come from wind and solar sources, 10 percent from hydro and 8 percent from nuclear by 2030,” Minister Kapparov said. “The remainder will come from coal (49%) and natural gas (21%). By 2050, the share of wind and solar sources will increase to 39 percent, nuclear and hydro will make up 14 percent, gas stations – 16, and the remaining 31 percent will fall to coal stations, which will be upgraded to rely on cleaner-burning technologies,” he added.

If natural gas prices become more affordable, the share of gas-fired power plants will increase to 26 percent by 2030 and 32 percent in 2050.What’s more, energy efficiency measures will allow overall electricity production to be reduced by 10 percent by 2030.

The Strategy Kazakhstan 2050 plan seeks to use the country’s estimated 3.8 trillion cubic meters of natural gas reserves as a bridge between coal and renewable sources for electricity. As development and conversion capacity increases, gas will gradually replace coal plants until they are upgraded or shuttered entirely.

The gradual phasing out of coal will help lay the foundation for large-scale development of the renewable energy and gas chemical sectors while protecting jobs in the coal sector as well. As coal production in absolute terms will not reduce over the next two decades, significant reductions in employment are not foreseen. At the same time, development of new high-tech renewable energy sectors and gas chemical sectors as well as development of gas transportation infrastructure will allow to create new, high paying jobs.

The President’s Decree sets a water resource management goal of transitioning to the more effective and careful use of water resources to meet the growing demands of both the economy and population. The plan also calls for a more productive regional dialogue on joint use of rivers that are shared with the neighboring countries that should be based on fairness and economic attractiveness.

The Decree also set ambitious goals for Kazakhstan’s agriculture sector. Gradual increases in grain yield productivity are coupled with reductions in the amount of water that can be used for irrigation. Both can be achieved through a combination of farmers being provided with affordable financing for equipment procurement and high quality fertilizers, an increase of crop rotation for reducing land degradation, and the application of advanced irrigation technologies.

The President’s vision also calls for the establishment of a robust waste recycling industry, which would provide great opportunities for the creation of new jobs. By 2050, Kazakhstan aims to use public-private partnerships to help build a non-waste, so-called “circular” economy.

In order to reduce air pollution, the Central Asian nation aims to adopt European emissions standards by 2030.

Minister Kapparov also stated that green modernization need not be a heavy load on the national economy. The transfer to the green economy, he said, will have a positive impact on the country’s economy — increasing the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by as much as 3% by 2050 compared to the status quo. It will also provide for the creation of up to 600,000 new jobs in different sectors of economy. Minister Kapparov said that the overall volume of public and private investments for implementation Kazakhstan Strategy 2050 would be around 3.2 billion U.S. dollars per year until 2050. This is about 1% of the annual GDP.