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28 February 2024

Modernising Kazakhstan’s coal-dependent power sector through renewables

Challenges, solutions and scenarios up to 2030 and beyond

Modernising Kazakhstan’s coal-dependent power sector through renewables


Kazakhstan, with its vast territory, holds immense potential for the development of cheap solar and wind energy. As of mid-2023, the country had a share of 5% variable renewable generation (vRES) in its power mix. The national objective is to elevate this proportion to 15% by 2030. Our research shows that significantly higher shares are realistic.

The aim of this study is to present pathways for achieving this share of 15% as well as even higher shares of vRES. Critically, the pathways presented in this paper minimize power system costs and ensure security of supply while phasing down carbon intensive coal-fired power generation. Transitioning away from coal is a particularly important contribution towards reaching Kazakhstan’s climate targets.

This study also underscores the significant opportunities and advantages for the wider energy sector and the whole economy associated with rapidly increasing the share of vRES. It also proposes solutions to multiple challenges that arise on the way, such as cost-effective grid integration of wind and solar PV, the necessary transformation of combined heat and power (CHP) systems, and the social implications of coal usage.

Key findings

  1. Solar PV and wind will be the cheapest sources of power in Kazakhstan in 2030 for new generating facilities.

    The 2030 levelised cost of energy (LCOE) from new build solar PV and wind power plants across all scenarios outlined in this report is estimated to be only about a half (47–62% less) of that from new build coal-fired generation.

  2. Kazakhstan can minimise the overall costs of its power system while reducing the share of coal from the current level of 67% to 45% by 2030.

    Such a scenario will enable the country to achieve the energy-related emissions cuts necessary to reach its 2030 emissions reduction target and will mark a major milestone on its path to carbon neutrality by 2060.

  3. The acceleration of renewable energy deployment, grid reinforcement and extension, renewable hydrogen, energy storage and related technologies are key elements of a successful transformation of Kazakhstan‘s energy sector.

    Some of the topics currently discussed in the country, such as a coal-to-gas transition and clean coal technologies, would divert investments from an efficient path to carbon neutrality.

  4. The country urgently needs a long-term coal phase-out plan, as well as a more balanced and holistic approach to planning for the whole energy sector.

    Such an approach should put the lowest cost technologies, i.e. wind and solar PV, at the centre of its transformation; and gradually couple the green power sector with heating/cooling and transport sectors.

Bibliographical data

Tatiana Lanshina, Christian Redl, Long Nguyen (all Agora Energiewende); Martha Maria Frysztacki (OET)
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Publication date

28 February 2024

Suggested Citation
Agora Energiewende (2024): Modernising Kazakhstan’s coal-dependent power sector through ­renewables. Challenges, solutions and scenarios up to 2030 and beyond.
This publication was produced within the framework of the project Modernising Kazakhstan’s coal-dependent power sector through renewables.

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