ASTANA, 2 July 2010 – The Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Kandeh K. Yumkella, urged Kazakhstan today to raise energy efficiency and develop renewable energy sources as a way to de-carbonize the power sector and address climate issues.
“Immense opportunities exist in Central Asia, and particularly in Kazakhstan, that can help address energy and climate issues. Raising energy efficiency and developing renewable energy will help promote energy security and de-carbonize the power sector,” said Yumkella, speaking at the 3rd Astana Economic Forum.
“As an emerging leader in Central Asia, Kazakhstan needs to promote more exploration in energy sources, including renewable energy. The population of 15 million, spread over the vast land, requires the expansion of a decentralized energy system in order to support small and medium-sized enterprises, industries and value chains.”
He added that UNIDO and other UN agencies were ready to support the development and deployment of new technologies in Kazakhstan and catalyze investments for energy security.
During his official visit, the Director-General had talks with President Nursultan Nazarbayev. He also met Prime Minister Karim Masimov; Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Industry and New Technologies, Asset Isekeshev; the Minister of Environment Protection, Nurgali Ashymov; and First Vice Minister of Industry and New Technologies, Albert Rau.
“Kazakhstan is rich in both fossil fuels and renewable energy sources, such as hydro, wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal energy. Yet renewable resources currently account for only about 1 per cent of the nation’s energy balance, and have considerable scope for further development,” said Yumkella.
He commended the commitment of the Government of Kazakhstan to raise this share to 5-6 per cent by 2024, adding that the existing market could absorb 3 billion kWh of renewable-based electricity at present, which could rise to 10 billion kWh by 2024 and would reduce emissions by 70 million tons of CO2.
The Director-General also welcomed the positive industrial and innovative developments in the country, including “Programme 2020” which envisages the diversification of the economy of Kazakhstan in the next 10 years.
Noting the ongoing UNIDO project on establishing an investment promotion and technology transfer network for Eurasian economic cooperation, Yumkella said UNIDO was ready to help Kazakhstan develop trade capacity, small and medium businesses, offer industrial policy advice and institutional support, and help deal with persistent organic pollutants and ozone depleting substances.
The Director-General also discussed the possibility of opening a UNIDO Office in Kazakhstan.
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