Last Saturday, the EBRD won a landmark award for its pioneering work on Kazakhstan’s first wind farm to be financed under a new feed-in-tariff mechanism that the EBRD helped to develop.

“It’s been our honour to receive the AmCham Environmental and Safety Award for the Yereymentau project tonight,” co-OL Xenia Rogan, Principal Banker in Kazakhstan with the Energy, Russia, Caucasus & Central Asia team, reported to colleagues.

Kazakhstan Director Janet Heckman, also at the ceremony at the Rixos Hotel in Almaty along with 280 guests including economy and regional integration ministers, added, “Xeniya and I were really pleased to accept the award.”

“Supporting clean energy projects is at the core of the EBRD’s mandate. We stand ready to assist Kazakhstan in unlocking its potential in renewables by financing pilot projects with strong local and foreign companies,” said Riccardo Puliti, EBRD Managing Director for Energy and Natural Resources, who also signed an agreement to prepare the Yereymentau project for domestic carbon offsets during Kazakh Prime-Minister’s visit to EBRD HQ. The Carbon Agreement should create a supply of carbon credits and support the development of the Kazakh Emission Trading Scheme, which is among the first in Asia and highly relevant in the context of the upcoming Paris Climate Change negotiations later this year.

Managing Director Olivier Descamps congratulated the team, calling the award “a well deserved recognition in this crucial space where the EBRD is leading the way in the country.” He thanked all the staff who, over the years, have made this into a credible and visible topic.

The project is inspirational in its scope and imagination. The EBRD and the Clean Technology Fund (CTF) have financed the construction, connection to the power transmission grid, commissioning and launch of a greenfield 50 MW wind power plant at Yereymentau in central Kazakhstan.

The EBRD has provided a KZT 14 billion (€70 million) loan to Wind Power Yereymentau, a special purpose vehicle incorporated in Kazakhstan, while up to €18 million of concessional financing comes from the CTF. The loan is guaranteed by JSC Samruk-Energo, the ultimate owner of the company.

Yereymentau Wind Park will be the first power sector project in Kazakhstan to receive CTF funding.

The wind power plant is expected to offset 120,000 tons of CO2 per annum, an equivalent of 450 return flights from Astana to Almaty, in a country still dominated by coal-fired power generation.

Most of the electricity - over 70 per cent - produced in Kazakhstan today is still generated by coal-fired power plants benefiting from easily accessible local coal reservoirs.
However, Kazakhstan is seen as one of the most promising countries in the CIS for both wind and photovoltaic energy investments. About 50 per cent of Kazakhstan’s territory has an estimated average wind speed of about 4-5 m/s with overall wind potential estimated at around 18,000 GWh per year. Until now, renewable energy in Kazakhstan has mainly been represented by a few hydropower plants mostly built in Soviet times.

The EBRD support for the Yereymentau wind project is the result of successful cooperation with the government of Kazakhstan on creating the legal and regulatory frameworks for renewable energy. The Renewable Energy Law was introduced in June 2013, with tariffs for renewable energy off-take agreed in 2014.

This first wind farm in the country will road-test the new regulations and will set the benchmark in terms of developing, building and operating a greenfield renewable project.
Nigel Jollands, Senior Policy Manager, Energy Efficiency and Climate Change, commented that Saturday’s prize recognised “such an important first project in this crucial sector. I hope our work will lead to many more such investments.”