For the last four years, since I became Honorary Consul I paid a special attention to the evolution of Kazakhstan and its economic progress. As former Minister of Environment and Waters Management I strongly admire how Kazakhstan is taking the lead among Central Asian countries by making the leap to a green economy. Despite the world-wide economic pressure, it aspires to become one of the top 30 competitive developed countries in the world by 2050 while gradually ‘greening’ key economic sectors.
In December 2012, President Nursultan Nazarbayev in his state-of-the-nation address titled “Kazakhstan-2050 Strategy. New Political Course of an Established State” defined the transition of the country to green and sustainable development as a strategic trend of the national economy and emerged in relevant global-scale green initiatives of Kazakhstan – Green Bridge Partnership Programme, Global Energy and Environment Strategy and EXPO 2017.
According to President Nazarbayev’s ambitious strategy, Kazakhstan will widely use renewable and alternative energy sources. This is just one component of Kazakhstan’s comprehensive initiative to transfer from one of the world’s premier hydrocarbon energy producers to a model “green” economy. In addition to green energy creation, Kazakhstan’s transition also focuses on water resource conservation, agriculture and waste management and measures aimed at reducing carbon emissions. In this respect we must underline that Kazakhstan plans to spend an average $3.2 billion a year to achieve its green goals by 2050 and cut carbon emissions by 40 percent.
In order to put into force such a paradigm shift, one of the main battles will be fought in energy field. As part of President Nazarbayev’s broad Kazakhstan 2050 Strategy initiative, which is designed to modernize and diversify the nation’s carbon-reliant economy, renewable and alternative energy sources will provide 50 percent of all electricity produced in country and use one third of its wastes to generate ‘green’ energy by 2050. There are already more that 25 large renewable energy projects in Kazakhstan generating solar, wind and hydro-electric power. Wind power has the potential to produce 25 times more energy in a year than Kazakhstan’s current production from hydrocarbons. It is estimated that 10-15% of the land in Kazakhstan has average wind speeds of over 6 m/s making Kazakhstan prime for an increase in wind power. Wind power will play a large part of the 2020 goal to expand the renewable energy generating capacity to 1,040 MW.
It is surely no coincidence that the theme of the World Expo held by Astana next year is the future energy. The economic crisis in the world due to the fall in prices for traditional fossil energy sources turned the table in favor of the renewable energy based on the need to replenish energy shortage, to resolve environmental issues and to launch a new phase of technological development of the world economy. Their range and scale is very broad – from local wind power stations to global projects for obtaining energy from space. “Astana EXPO-2017” sets the task to gather the best developments and innovations in these fields in order to demonstrate not only the future energy, but also to address problematic issues of developing countries, connected with the need in it. The leading world experts, who will meet in Astana, will discuss the ways to make “green energy”, its availability, sustainability and will set the main development trend for further decades. Nevertheless, EXPO-2017 project is an excellent platform to demonstrate the countries’ achievements.
It is estimated that the transition into the green economy will be further increased by 3% of GDP, more than 500 thousand new jobs, new industries and services to provide universally high standards of quality of life for the people. Driven by President Nazarbayev’s strategy “Kazakhstan 2050”, a new policy established clear guidelines for the construction of a sustainable and efficient economic model, based on the country’s transition to a “green” way of development. “Green Economy” is one of the important tools to ensure sustainable development of the country and it is a path that the entire world, including my country, Romania, should follow.