SARAN, Kazakhstan – The small mining town of Saran is in the very centre of Kazakhstan, 203 kilometres from Astana, with a population of just over 50,000 people entered the history of the country this week.
On January 23, the largest solar power station not only in the former Soviet republic, but also throughout the whole of Central Asia, with a capacity of 100 megawatts was launched here.
An international team of investors and specialists from Germany, the Czech Republic and Slovakia implemented the project. They did not accidentally choose this city as a place to install a solar power station. Saran is located in the very center of the vast Kazakh steppe.
In the winter there are a lot of sunny days here where 307,000 “green” panels installed on an area of 164 hectares will now convert solar energy into electrical energy, which will be supplied to consumers throughout the country. The power of the new solar power station will be enough to provide electricity for ten of the same cities as Saran.
Germany’s Ambassador in Astana Tilo Klinner, who also arrived at the opening of the station, noted that since this day the mining town Saran, where coal had been mined for electricity production for many years, changed its specialization and became a city of green energy.
The diplomat recalled that this project originates from the International Exhibition EXPO – Astana – 2017. The memorandum on mutual cooperation between the Akimat (city hall) of Saran and SES Saran LLP was signed during the EXPO. This became the basis for the start of construction.
The German company GoldbeckSolar, together with partners from Slovakia and the Czech Republic, built the station in record six months.
According to the main investor of the project and the head of the GoldbeckSolar company Joachim Goldbek, such efficiency is explained by several reasons.
“The main reason is trust in Kazakhstan’s partners,” Goldbek said.
The second is the financial support from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which provided the loan.
Kazakh Energy Minister Kanat Bozumbayev said that the government of Republic aims to achieve the share of renewable energy sources (RES) in the total electricity production basket up to 3% by 2020, up to 10% by 2030 and 50% by 2050.
“Sixty objects of renewable energy with a total capacity of 531 megawatts built in Kazakhstan at the present time. At the end of 2018, the volume of generated electricity from renewable energy sources amounted to 1.3 billion kilowatts / hour. Another 50 renewable energy facilities with a total capacity of 2,353 Megvatts will be launched by 2020,” Bozumbayev said.
The Minister added that 36 renewable energy facilities with a total capacity of 900 megawatts would be built from 2021 to 2023.
“This means that by 2023, Kazakhstan will produce over 3000 megawatts of electricity from renewable energy sources. For comparison: today the country as a whole produces 18,000 Megawatts from other energy sources,” Bozumbayev said.
Addressing investors, he suggested not to limit himself only to solar energy projects, but, given the strong winds that blow almost all year round in the open steppe, to pay attention to the construction of wind power plants.
By the way, on the day of the presentation of SES Saran LLP, the Akimat and GoldbeckSolar signed a memorandum on the development of the SES Saran project, providing for the expansion of investments to 500 million US dollars.
Recall, Kazakhstan has taken obligations under the Paris Climate Agreement: to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 15% by 2030 compared with the 1990 level. Kazakhstan is the 14th country in the world in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.