EBRD’s award for first biogas plant in Kazakhstan

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An EBRD project to build the first wastewater biogas plant in Kazakhstan, to be constructed in Shymkent as part of a wastewater system upgrade, has received an award. The award by the American Chamber of Commerce crowned a week dedicated to the debate on green economy and innovation in Kazakhstan, with the EBRD President reaffirming the Bank’s commitment to the country’s greener future during a visit to co-chair its Foreign Investors Council.

Financing the first ever wastewater biogas facility in the country illustrates what the EBRD does in practice to support its green agenda.

Shymkent, a southern city of 630,000 people, started building the plant (scheduled for completion this year) in 2010. Recently, the Bank financed a new stage of the project, which will connect another 3,500 customers – currently relying on septic tanks for their sewage – to the wastewater treatment system. The new biogas plant will be part of this wastewater treatment system and will provide roughly the amount of energy needed to operate the wastewater plant.

Janet Heckman, EBRD Director for Kazakhstan, received the AmCham Achievement Award for Environmental Health and Safety with the two bankers who worked on the project, Bakhtiyor Faiziev and Sandugash Beisenbekova. “This is just one of the things we are doing to help Kazakhstan go greener”, she said.

The Bank supports energy efficiency efforts in Kazakhstan in a variety of ways: from policy dialogue (especially on renewable energy) to workshops to projects, both in public and private sectors. The EBRD recently signed a €106 million deal with a private energy operator CAEPCO to finance the upgrade of power supply in two cities, Pavlodar and Petropavlovsk. That project will save about half a day’s worth of CO2 emissions for the entire country.

In December 2012, the EBRD lent 2.4 billion tenge (€12.7 million) to the western city of Aktau, for an innovative waste-to-energy plant.

A gas flaring workshop recently discussed ways to reduce the wasteful burning of petroleum-associated gas in Astana.

And soon, the EBRD team is meeting with several akims (mayors) of Kazakh cities to discuss more possible energy efficiency projects in municipalities.

Kazakhstan is currently the second most energy-intensive country in the post-soviet space, after Ukraine. However, the country is keen to boost the use of sustainable energy and President Nazarbayev has now announced that 2 per cent of GDP will now go towards green economy projects.

The EBRD has already invested over US$ 800 million in energy efficiency in Kazakhstan (and over €11 billion in all its countries of operations). “The EBRD welcomes the Kazakh government's drive for the green economy, and we look forward to finding new, innovative projects that will help the Kazakh economy go greener," said EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti during his recent visit.

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