Astana, Kazakhstan [RenewableEnergyAccess.com] The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Government of Kazakhstan will launch a three-year project on developing the wind energy sector in the country. It is the first large-scale project aimed at increasing the use of renewable energy sources in Kazakhstan.The project aims for the construction of the first 5 MW wind power plant to prepare the basis for future investments in this sector and mitigate the risks. The construction plan is based on the results of UNDP’s two-year study of wind potential in the Jungar Gates in the South-East of Kazakhstan. UNDP will also assist the government in formulation of the National Program on developing the wind energy sector, expanding the program of wind speed measurements and preparing maps of wind potential in different regions. Development of energy sources that have either low or zero emissions is very topical for Kazakhstan because it is one of the largest producers of greenhouse gas emissions in Central Asia. Given its impressively rapid economic growth, it is expected that the level of emissions causing the greenhouse effect will rise in the coming years. While significant resources are available in the form of hydro, solar and wind energy, 98 percent, based on energy records from 2000, of energy consumed was generated through the use of coal, oil and gas. Kazakhstan’s wind energy potential is estimated at 500 MW of installed capacity, which should generate 1,820 GWh annually. There is also an opportunity to significantly reduce the cost of wind energy in the future through producing parts of turbines in Kazakhstan in cooperation with western companies. The current project is a part of the government’s strategy on meeting its obligations under the UN Convention on Climate Change signed by Kazakhstan in 1995. Global Environmental Facility (GEF) provided over $2 million for project implementation, and it is expected that private companies will contribute another $4 million. Vladimir Shkolnik, Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, Vladimir Litvak, representative of the UNDP Regional Office for Eastern Europe and CIS, and Gordon Johnson, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Kazakhstan, will take part in the project’s presentation.