Kazakhstan Drafts Renewable Energy Legislation

Kazakhstan could become the next country to pass legislation supporting the development of renewable energy after government ministries declared support for the development of draft legislation regulating this new industry.

June 11, 2007


Kazakhstan could become the next country to pass legislation supporting the development of renewable energy after government ministries declared support for the development of draft legislation regulating this new industry. Last month at a seminar in the Ministry of Energy, chaired by Deputy Minister Almasadam Satkaliev, draft legislation was approved that is now subject to governmental consultations before being sent to parliament. The May seminar was a follow-up to work that the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) began back in March, when the organisation presented a proposed framework for legislation to an audience of ministers and senior officials in the Kazakh parliament. Currently the Ministries of Energy and Mineral Resources and of Environmental Protection are working with UNDP to continue the development of detailed drafts.

Ambitions for renewable energy in Kazakhstan remain fairly modest by European standards, the power sector modeling carried out as part of the UNDP project shows that 1,000MW of small scale hydro power and 2,000MW of wind power can be constructed by 2024 without significant effect on the consumer price for power. Nevertheless, the significance of this is immense in a country whose economy is so linked to the hydrocarbon markets.

Kazakhstan is largely dependent on sizeable coal reserves for its power needs. Eighty-five percent of the country's power production comes from its sources of cheap and often poor quality coal. As a consequence Kazakhstan is the largest per capita emitter of greenhouse gases in Central Asia.

During initial debate on the draft legislation Kazakh government officials agreed that fossil fuels provide stable income for Kazakhstan and that by reducing the country's reliance on them for domestic use, valuable resources can be saved. They also acknowledged the value of renewable energy as a means of hedging against world fossil fuel prices, reducing the country's dependence on power transmission and eliminating energy deficits in remote areas of the country.

UNDP Regional Representative Haoliang Xu stated "Kazakhstan is in the process of transition to sustainable development and UNDP is supporting the government in implementation of the transitional programme. A key part of the process is the promotion of RES in Kazakhstan and to facilitate this we used Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) funding to draft a law tailored to the needs and conditions of this country. The adoption of the law and the commitment shown by the Ministries of Environmental Protection and of Energy and Mineral Resources is a sign that RES development and environmental protection are being taken seriously by the Republic of Kazakhstan."

Marianne Osterkorn, International Director for REEEP commented further that, "It is very exciting to see strongly emerging economies, particularly those with a dependence on hydrocarbons like Kazakhstan, making such a clear commitment to sustainability."

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