Climate finance in Caspian region discussed at COP21 in Paris

By Svitlana  Pyrkalo

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The EBRD’s and CIF’s winning partnership in hydro and wind power in Central Asia

Qairokkum hydropower rehabilitation project in Tajikistan

Event, co-organised by the EBRD, showcases Bank-financed solar and wind projects in Kazakhstan, EBRD pilot credit line for climate resilience in Tajikistan.

Progress in combating climate change and its effects in the Caspian region was the focus of an EBRD event on the sidelines of the COP21 climate negotiations in Paris. 

The conference, co-hosted by the Kazakh authorities and introduced by EBRD Managing Director for Energy Efficiency and Climate Change, Josué Tanaka, focused specifically on climate challenges and opportunities in Kazakhstan and Tajikistan

Among the projects mentioned were the EBRD-financed first commercial-scale solar plant and the first wind farm in Kazakhstan under the new feed-in-tariff mechanism, as well as the EBRD’s pilot climate resilience credit line in Tajikistan (in partnership with the CIF’s Pilot Program for Climate Resilience).  

Janet Heckman, EBRD Director for Kazakhstan, said the EBRD had invested €5.2 billion across the Caspian region in green projects since 2006 and provided important support for policy development.

The Bank had worked very closely with the Kazakh authorities to develop the country’s Green Economy Strategy and its Emissions Trading Scheme, she said. 

Gulmira Sergazina, head of Climate Change at Kazakhstan's Ministry of Energy, told the audience that Kazakhstan fully supported international efforts to combat climate change. 

The country was taking a "win-win" pathway which combined support for growth with low carbon development.

Sergazina outlined in detail the policy steps that were being taken in Kazakhstan to work toward ambitious low-carbon goals including an increased drive for energy efficiency and use of renewable energy.

Yerbol Akhmetbekov, head of the National Laboratory ‎in Astana, took an overview of the water and energy situation across the region. Kazakhstan’s energy efficiency is behind the OECD average as the technology stock in the area is outdated.

There was a lot of energy efficiency potential and the next 10-15 years would be a period of opportunity, he said. ‎He also referred to significant potential for solar and wind energy to raise their share in the overall energy mix. Energy intensity was set to fall to 50 percent of 2008 levels by 2050, while the share of alternative energy would rise to 30 percent by 2030.

Zafar Mahmoudov, from the Committee‎ for Environmental Protection in the government of Tajikistan, outlined his vision of addressing energy shortages, especially in winter. Hydropower was critical to Tajikistan’s development — economic growth, livelihoods and living standards — but it was threatened by climate change, he said.

He welcomed the support from the EBRD for his country, one of the most vulnerable to climate change in the whole of the EBRD region. Mahmoudov referred specifically to the innovative climate resilience credit line and the Bank's investment to modernise the Qairokkum hydropower plant and enable it to operate under different rain and water level scenarios.

Mafalda Duarte, programme manager of the Climate Investment Funds, outlined her organisation's support for developing countries in their climate mitigation and adaptation efforts. 

In the Caspian region, the CIF had supported projects with a total value of US$ 2 billion, of which US$ 1.1 billion had come from the EBRD.

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