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EBRD award for Burnoye, first solar in Kazakhstan

By Svitlana  Pyrkalo

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Joint Kazakh-British 50 MW project, Burnoye Solar, has pioneered private sector participation in renewables

The EBRD has recognised a renewable energy project in Kazakhstan, the Burnoye Solar plant, at its annual Sustainability Awards announced during the Bank’s Annual Meeting in London on 12 May 2016.

These awards are given to EBRD-supported projects which lead the way in sustainable development, including the low-carbon economy, and go beyond simply following EBRD performance requirements. Burnoye Solar was recognised as Sustainable Energy Project of the Year.

This landmark renewable energy project in Kazakhstan was co-financed by the EBRD and the Clean Technology Fund (CTF) with loans of well over €80 million. The plant was built in the sun-rich but energy-poor Zhambyl region in south Kazakhstan.

The award announcement has coincided with the second stage of the project, which is about to be launched. The EBRD signed a mandate letter – a document which sets out essential terms and conditions of a future project – stating that it will consider providing up to US$ 50 million for stage II of the project, which will add another 50 MW of capacity to the solar plant. The CTF will consider lending up to US$ 15 million alongside the EBRD.

The mandate letter was signed during the EBRD’s Annual Meeting in London.

Burnoye Solar was not only the first solar plant in Kazakhstan under the new renewable energy legislation, but also the country’s first privately-owned renewable energy generator. It was built in 2015 by Burnoye Solar 1 LLP, a project company founded by a joint Kazakh-UK venture, Samruk-Kazyna United Green LLP.

Kazakhstan possesses significant renewable energy resources, such as wind, solar and hydro power. However, over 80 per cent of electricity in the country is currently produced by coal-fired power plants built in Soviet times.  The Kazakh government launched a strategic initiative called the Green Economy, under which a number of actions have been planned including development of renewable energy. Kazakhstan also adopted ambitious goals during the Paris COP21 climate conference to produce up to 50 per cent of its electricity from renewables by 2050. The EBRD strongly supports this aim, as well as the country’s Green Economy agenda. The Bank has also invested in the first wind farm and is preparing new renewable energy projects in Kazakhstan.

The EBRD is the largest renewable energy financier in its regions of operations, often advising governments on adopting new renewables legislation which enables investment. Since 2006, the EBRD has invested close to US$ 22 billion (€19.5 billion) in sustainable energy projects, with over US$ 5 billion (€4.7 billion) invested in renewable energy generation – in many cases bringing it to individual countries for the first time.

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