Countries once considered as part of the Third World are making plans to substantially increase renewable energy capacity, while some in the developed world are contemplating getting rid of them altogether.
The Central Asian country of Kazakhstan has set a target that will see renewable energy projects contributing 3% to the country’s energy mix by 2020. This would require the country to install more than 3,000 MW of renewable energy capacity by the decade’s end. This will include 28 solar power projects with more than 700 MW in capacity.
The country has made significant strides in the low-carbon development sector. Interestingly, these measures are in stark contrast to those taken by Australia over the last few years. Early last year, Kazakhstan became the first Asian country to implement an emissions trading scheme. In doing so, the country joined a club whose members don’t include even developed nations like Japan, Russia, the United States, and Canada.
While the size and coverage of the emissions trading scheme is small, it does promote private investment in low-carbon and renewable energy technologies. The short-term target of renewable energy capacity addition is small, but in the long-term, the country is eying a clear departure from the current economic system that is centred around fossil fuels.
By 2050, the country aims to have 50% of the total power generation from renewable energy sources. Currently, 80% of the country electricity is generated from coal. The over-dependence on coal and other fossil fuels has led to a 40% increase in the country’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions since 2006. In 2010, the Kazakh government announced a voluntary plan to reduce its GHG emissions to 15% below the 1992 levels by 2020.
Through international cooperation, the Kazakh government has also set other ambitious low-carbon development targets. The country’s industrial sector has set a target to reduce its energy intensity by 10% by 2015 and 25% by 2020 from 2008 levels.
Image credit: Edgarpo01 | CC BY-SA 3.0
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