EBRD unlocks extra funds for Kazakhstan renewable energy

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has announced that a new funding allocation of up to US$110 million has been made available to help pay for the construction and operation of renewable energy projects in Kazakhstan.

The money will be provided from the United Nations’ Green Climate Fund (GCF), which was established in 2010 within the framework of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The latest contribution – which was approved at a recent GCF board meeting in Cairo – will consist of US$106 million in concessional finance, plus a further US$4 million provided in the form of technical assistance grants.

The money will be made available to the EBRD as part of its Kazakhstan Renewables Framework. This framework was established in December 2016 with funding totalling 200 million euros (US$226 million). Its stated aim is “to support investments in solar, wind, small hydropower and biogas energy sources” in Kazakhstan as well as to help modernise and upgrade the country’s national power grid to make it suitable for the longer-term integration of renewable power.

Kazakh Energy Minister Kanat Bozumbayev said his country recognised the need for a transition to a more sustainable economy, and wanted to contribute to global efforts to address climate change. Under the terms of the Paris Agreement, his government has set itself the target of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions nationally to a point 15% below 1990 levels by 2030.

“With the support of the GCF and the EBRD, we look forward to scaling up our investments in renewable energy, and delivering on the country’s green economy transition strategy,” Bozumbayev said.

Reaching its 2030 emissions goals could still prove a major challenge for Kazakhstan. The country will need to invest massively in renewable projects, as it remains dependent on conventional fossil fuels for the bulk of its power generation. According to EBRD’s figures, around 72% of the country’s total electricity production comes from coal-fired plants alone.

The EBRD has, however, already been supporting these transition efforts, and Kazakhstan is one of the bank’s main funding recipients, with around 7.3 billion euros (US$6.51 billion) invested to date. Of this sum, some 1.7 billion euros (US$2 billion) has gone towards green projects such as the Burnoye-1, Burnoye-2 and Baikonur solar parks, each of which has an installed capacity of 50 MW.