Kazakhstan is determined to achieve net-zero carbon emissions and increase the role of renewables by 2060. It is a welcome goal, but in order to achieve it the country will have to control its reliance on cheap domestic coal and increase flexible power generation.
Currently, more than 70% of Kazakhstan’s electricity is generated from coal, but its goal is to supply half of its power through other sources, by 2050. This shift is aimed at reducing the country’s greenhouse emissions, by 2030, to 15% lower than their level in 1990; and of achieving carbon neutrality by 2060.
The government is considering different facilities for power generation, including solar, wind, gas and hydro. As Kazakhstan has one of the world’s largest sources of uranium, they are also planning to construct their first commercial nuclear power plant.
Kazakhstan’s current position
Kazakhstan, like many other Central Asian countries, is reliant mainly on fossil fuels for generating electricity, especially coal. To a great extent, it depends on electricity imports from Russia to avoid imbalances and maintain frequency stability.
The country has old power infrastructure that has been in operation for around 40 years; clearly there is a need to use advanced technologies that will help reduce emissions. The energy transition strategy, however, has been made more difficult due to the energy crisis world over. Nonetheless, this should not stop a country like Kazakhstan, with enormous energy resource potential, to aim for a net-zero pathway that will help it meet the rapidly growing demand of its consumers, be energy efficient, and achieve its target of decarbonization.
The way forward for Kazakhstan
In order to reach its decarbonization target by 2060, and to provide its consumers with a secure and sustainable supply of power, Kazakhstan should act quickly to:
For more information on this topic, you may read the IEA’s country report, Kazakhstan 2022.
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