ASTANA – Kazakhstan saw a 9-percent increase last year in its volume of solar power generated electricity. The 2018 volume was 107.1 billion kilowatt hour (kWh) compared to 103.1 billion kWh in 2017.
The country is gradually transitioning to a green economy, developing its renewable energy by constructing wind and solar power stations. The nation has 65 renewable energy facilities – 33 hydroelectric power plants, 19 solar power stations, 12 wind power stations and one biogas plant.
In the first half of 2018, electricity production by all renewable energy facilities was 629.5 million kWh, a 23.1-percent increase compared to 118.1 million kWh during the same period in 2017.
The small hydropower plants generated the biggest share of energy, 373.7 million kWh or 28.6 percent more than the previous year. Electricity production from wind farms reached 200 million kWh with an annual growth of 18.1 percent. Solar power stations produced 55.8 million kWh, 8.6 percent more than the same period in 2017.
Electricity generated by all renewable energy sources combined represented 1.2 percent of the country’s total electricity production in 2018 and 1 percent a year earlier.
The share of renewable energy will increase by the end of this year. The solar power station in the town of Saran in the Karaganda region, now the largest in the Central Asia with a capacity of 100 megawatts (MWs), began operating in January. Solarnet Investment GmbH, an affiliate of German developer Goldbeck Solar, built the power station.
The European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Green Climate Fund invested $73.5 million in the $137-million project. The EBRD financing structure includes a $51.3-million loan, as well as a $22.2-million loan from Green Climate Fund.
EBRD has invested in 32 renewable energy projects in Kazakhstan overall. Goldbeck Solar is cooperating with 15 countries on stations generating 750 MWs of energy.