Climate change is one of the acute global issues awaiting its solution. Shifting from hydrocarbon fuels to the use of renewable energy sources is one of the essential solutions for the problem.
Energy-rich Kazakhstan is currently looking for ways to use renewable energy sources. Experts believe that about 20-30 percent of domestically consumed energy can be saved through the use of alternative energy resources.
Renewable energy, which is commonly called alternative energy, comes from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, and geothermal heat, which are naturally replenished. Renewable energy is an alternative to fossil fuels.
According to experts, Kazakhstan has to turn to alternative energy sources by 2030, as the traditional sources are being exhausted and their prices are rising.
If Kazakhstan's natural conditions are considered, it is clear that the most promising alternative energy sector would be wind-power generation. Relevant studies conducted in the Kazakh regions showed that wind-power generation has great potential.
Chairman of Kazenergy Association Timur Kulibayev considers that Kazakhstan has all the favorable conditions for the development of alternative energy.
"Kazakhstan has a legislative mechanism for the development of 'green energy'. We also have natural conditions for the development of solar and wind energy. The sun shines 360 days a year in some regions of the country and we have five sites where wind power can be used," Kulibayev said.
Managing Director of the National Atomic Company Kazatomprom Valeriy Shevelev earlier said that wind turbines manufacturing plants will be constructed in Kazakhstan this year.
"We have conducted all the necessary tests and decided to launch the construction of plants manufacturing wind turbines, one of which will be located in Astana near the solar panels plant Astana Solar," Shevelev said.
Earlier Kazakh Minister of Industry and New Technologies Asset Issekeshev said that the volume of electricity generated by facilities using renewable energy sources increased by 6 percent in Kazakhstan in 2012.
He also mentioned a pilot project for the first solar power plant Green Village consisting of 16 houses with a population of about 70 people who have not been provided with electricity for 18 years. As a result of implementing the project, the problem was resolved.
The Kazakh government realizes the need to reduce the country's dependence on carbon fuels and is expanding cooperation with a number of countries.
The Samruk Kazyna sovereign wealth fund of Kazakhstan signed a cooperation agreement with China's power giant, the Guangdong Nuclear Power Corporation (GNPC), in 2010. The deal envisaged construction of wind-power stations to produce wind and solar energy in the future and to build small hydropower stations.
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev has put forth initiatives on the Green Bridge partnership program and global environmental energy strategy, in an effort to ensure the sustainable growth of Kazakhstan's economic development by increasing the share of renewable and alternative sources of energy.
Earlier the Kazakh president set a target for the development of alternative energy sources, which should reach at least 50 percent of total energy consumption in 2050.
In late January, an action plan was adopted for the development of renewable energy sources for a period from 2013-2020.
According to the plan, the power generated by renewable energy sources is expected to increase by 2020 to 1,040 MWt, of which 793 MWt is to be produced by 13 wind farms, while 170 MWt - by 14 hydro-power stations and the remaining 77 MWt by four solar stations.
Meanwhile, Parliamentary Economic Reform and Regional Development Committee Chairman Seytsultan Aimbetov said that the cost of alternative energy production is three times more than that of producing traditional energy in Kazakhstan.
"That is why energy companies are not interested in renewable energy production. In addition, at present, a mechanism of production support and use of other energy sources is not thought-out enough," Aimbetov said.
Alternative energy sources in Uzbekistan
Another Central Asian country, Uzbekistan, also aims to use alternative energy sources available in the country.
Uzbekistan's President Islam Karimov approved by a decree the proposal of the ministry of economy, the ministry of finance, Academy of Sciences and state joint-stock company Uzbekenergo on the creation of International Institute of Solar Energy in Tashkent.
According to the decree, the institute will be established on the basis of NGO "Physics of the Sun" of the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan with the assistance of the Asian Development Bank and other international financial institutions.
The potential of renewable energy sources in Uzbekistan is about 51 billion tons of oil equivalent.
The potential of solar energy in the country with 300 sunny days per year constitutes about 50.973 billion tons of oil equivalent.
Today, 97 percent of primary fuel and energy resources of the country is made up by oil and gas, while 2.3 percent - by coal and the remaining 0.7 percent by hydropower. The share of renewable energy sources is estimated at below one percent.