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Kazakhstan's wind energy potential exceeds demand 10-fold

22 февраля 2013, 17:35

The potential of Kazakhstan's wind power stations is 10 times higher than the country's energy needs, adviser of the UNDP/GEF (United National Development Program/Global Ecological Fund) Gennadiy Doroshin told Tengrinews.kz.

According to the expert, almost all Kazakhstan's energy is currently based on coal fuel. This is related to the fact that the country has significant coal reserves that are enough for another 200-300 years. Thermal power plants are producing around 85 percent of energy in the country. One kWh produced by the thermal power plant costs around 6-7 tenge ($0.04). The price is based only on self-cost of the production process, as all the plants have been built tens of years ago and do not require the return of investments. However, taking into account the worn-out state of the thermal power plants and their poor environmental friendliness, Kazakhstan needs to build more advanced thermal power plants or switch to renewable energy sources (RES), i.e. wind, hydro and solar power stations.

Wind power stations. ©AFP

Wind power stations. ©AFP

"If the wind stations are built in the windy areas, they will be producing the total of 920 billion kWh of power per year, which is 10 times more than the whole Kazakhstan consumes annually. I am talking about the potential that can be used," Doroshin said.

At the same time installation of wind generators required significant investments and each kW will cost around $2-2.5 thousand. "The cost of energy has to include the investments component. Self-cost is insignificant here: one does not have to buy wind. But investments will have to be returned. With this aspect included the cost will reach 20-25 tenge ($0.13-0.17) for 1 kWh," Doroshin said. According to his calculations, at such rates the investments will pay off in 10 years and this is when the energy can become cheaper.

"The problem is that when you build a wind station and start selling this energy, nobody will buy it, as it is much more expensive. Some kind of government regulation is required to put this energy into use. This decision should be made in the form of laws and officially adopted goals and guidelines. There are such goals a priori," the expert stressed.

He added that Kazakhstan had voluntary obligations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent (compared to 1992) by 2020 and by 25 percent by 2050. Besides, according to the expert, Kazakhstan is planning to take the share of RES-produced power energy to 50 percent.

Doroshin noted that all the Kazakhstan oblasts had a potential for construction of wind power stations. For example, the wind generators can be installed in Almaty oblast in the area of Kordai mountain pass, Shelek corridor and the Dzhungarian Gates. These three power stations will produce the total of around 900 MW or 2.5 billion kWh per year. This would be enough for Almaty, considering that the reserve sources, such as hydro power stations will be involved in the peak periods (night time) or during breathless weather.

Gennadiy Doroshin. Photo courtesy of kz.beeca.net

Gennadiy Doroshin. Photo courtesy of kz.beeca.net

The expert stressed that the issue of energy production is quite acute in Kazakhstan. This is related to the worn-out state of the existing power stations and the big amounts of hazardous emissions.

Surely, not only ecological but also the financial aspect of the problem is among the key issues for the consumers. "The equipment of the thermal power plants is worn out by 70 percent, it has to be replaced. Considering the above, any lowering in the energy rates should not be expected. It is necessary to prepare for a raise instead. And the rates are already raising," the expert said.

By Dmitriy Khegai

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