Developing Other Renewable Sources
Not to vex the upstream neighbors with the exceptionally strengthening hydro capacity downstream while speaking out against the Kambarata-1 dam in Kyrgyzstan and the Rogun Dam in Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, quite smartly, has lately been reshaping its alternative energy expansion.
“Sure, hydro expansion remains very important, but we need to especially bolster wind power development,” said Daukeyev of the Energy and Communications University. “First in the Alma-Ata region’s so-called Dzungarskij “gates” the Chilitskij region bordering China, where the wind is the strongest. By 2017, three or four 40-60 MW wind farms will be built there,” the provost said. “Unfortunately, we were lagging behind in developing wind energy until now.”
“Wind energy, without any doubt, is on top of the list now. Due to the intensity of winds, we are able to obtain twice more wind generation per 1 square kilometer than most wind-rich European countries. Some Kazakh regions boast even fourfold or sevenfold larger wind intensity than Europe,” agreed Kambarov of EcoWatt AKA.
In harnessing wind power Sweden-made installations have the best reputation in Kazakhstan, but their transportation costs are too big.
“The Chinese RES products we use most are worse in quality, but twice or sometimes thrice cheaper and within a hand-reach, therefore we prefer the neighbor,” said Daukeyev.
Photovoltaic capacities, he says, will be rapidly developed in the town of Kapchigai where a 2-MW solar plant will be launched by the end of year. It is planned to expand the plant’s capacity up to 20 MW in the future.
To boost renewables, Kazakh Senate (Parliament) last May amended RES law passed in 2009, bringing more clarity to the tariff policy, agreeing to compensate 50 percent of expenses of 5kW-and-less capacity installation purchases for individual RES developers with no access to the state grid. The law now also sets out a number of incentives for local RES installation producers.
“Kazakhstan is undoubtedly a regional leader in developing green energy though the fossil fuels energy costs are currently five or seven-fold smaller than those of renewables. Therefore there are some doubts in the political circles whether Kazakhstan should pursue alternative energy. But the country must do that to be on par with the major world powers,” Daukeyev emphasized.
To the concern of some parliamentarians that Kazakhstan goes after green energy too early, Nurlan Kaparov, minister of the Ministry of Environment Protection, responds that pursuing RES is also “essential” in meeting the Kyoto Protocol commitments.
Kazakhstan has pledged to cut down on carbo emissions by 15 percent by 2020, and by 20 percent by 2050.
“If we do not bolster the RES development, we will not achieve the goals,” the minister said recently.
“The prices for coal and oil will certainly grow. Meanwhile, the RES cost price has been on the constant decline, and is expected to go down up to 10 percent yearly up to 2020. We estimate that the solar price will be less than coal’s already starting 2020,” said Kaparov.
For Kazakhstan, this is just a pennant on the way of harnessing the power of nature and muscling its way through it into the club of major global powers.
Lead image: Kazakhstan flag hands via Shutterstock