The Kazakh energy transition: German expertise for the green economy

Germany and Kazakhstan want to engage in greater cooperation on the energy transition. What exactly this cooperation might look like was the subject of the German Energy Dialogue, which was held at EXPO 2017 in the country’s capital Astana.

German pavillion at the EXPO 2017 in Kazakhstan.© Hamburg Messe und Congress, German Pavilion / HMC

Building renewables capacity and improving energy efficiency. Germany is not the only country to have put these two objectives at the top of its political agenda. The government of Kazakhstan in Central Asia also wants to place a greater focus on clean energy and on energy efficiency. This creates interesting market opportunities for German companies whose expertise around the energy transition is in global demand.

The exact nature of this potential new cooperation between the two nations was discussed between the approx. 200 representatives from government, business and science that attended the German Energy Dialogue. This event, which took place in mid-July, was hosted by the German Energy Agency, which has long been promoting bilateral cooperation on energy between the two countries. The German Energy Dialogue took place in the Kazakh capital of Astana, which is currently hosting EXPO 2017. The motto of the world exposition, which is open for visitors until 10 September, is ‘Future Energy: Action for Global Sustainability’.

Working together for greater success

The German Energy Dialogue was opened by Mr Uwe Beckmeyer, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. Speaking before the event, Mr Beckmeyer highlighted the positive relations between Germany and Kazakhstan: “Kazakhstan is an important partner for Germany in the region of Central Asia. This particularly applies to the energy sector. The fact that Kazakhstan has decided to put the objective of a sustainable future energy supply at the centre of EXPO 2017 highlights just how much potential there is for us to extend and strengthen our cooperation on energy. Germany has a lot to offer in this field.”

At the German Energy Dialogue, experts from Germany and Kazakhstan discussed not only energy efficiency and renewables, but also other issues, including how to best modernise the energy infrastructure, build sustainable cities, and modernise buildings to make them more energy efficient.

Outcomes of German-Kazakh cooperation

The cooperation underway between the German Energy Agency and its Kazakh partners has already delivered some specific outcomes. These include the publication of a brochure, which was presented at the conference and gives an overview of energy-efficient all-purpose technologies for industrial and commercial companies. This brochure is targeted at industrial companies in Kazakhstan. Furthermore, the German Energy Agency has renewed an existing agreement with the Kazakh Ministry for Investment and Development to engage in joint projects in fields including Industrie 4.0, digitisation of the energy transition, and distributed energy supply from renewables.

Harnessing the potential for energy conservation

Kazakh companies use four times as much energy per value unit as German ones. This means that there is enormous potential for energy conservation. For several years now, the President of Kazakhstan, Mr Nursultan Nazarbayev, has been promoting the green economy, i.e. a sustainable plan for modernising his country’s economy. As part of this process, Kazakhstan has been seeking international cooperation and has opened up its market for investors and partners from all over the world.

The German Energy Agency has been actively working with Kazakhstan for several years now. In 2011, for instance, it was asked by the Kazakh government to draw up recommendations for the country’s policy on energy efficiency, and to devise a strategy to this effect. The agency has also been conducting energy audits of the largest industrial companies in Kazakhstan. It offers training courses for energy experts from the public administration and for energy advisors. The German Energy Dialogue was coorganised by the German Energy Agency, the Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations, and the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Central Asia. The German Energy Agency was supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy in preparing the conference.

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