ASTANA (TCA) — Countries of Central Asia and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) have released a Communiqué on accelerating renewable energy deployment in the region. The Communiqué was released in the framework of the Energy Ministerial, Meeting the Challenge of Sustainable Energy at the Astana EXPO-2017 in Kazakhstan, IRENA said on June 11. The meeting identified six key areas to facilitate the uptake of renewables and help diversify the region’s energy mix, reflected in detail in a regional Action Plan.
“Covering over four million square kilometers, the countries of Central Asia are endowed with rich renewable energy sources that can drive sustainable economic development and growth,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. “With renewable energy targets in place for 2020 and beyond, the region can now seize this transformative opportunity for a sustainable energy future, and the new Action Plan will help boost efforts of renewable energy uptake.”
During the Energy Ministerial at the Astana EXPO-2017, countries agreed that renewable energy plays a critical role in addressing the major regional challenges identified in IRENA’s analysis, including: rising electricity demand; ageing power infrastructure; limited energy access for remote areas; and the impact of climate change on the energy systems.
“The collaboration between Kazakhstan and IRENA continues to be fruitful, and together we have made significant strides in assessing the future development of renewable energy in the region. We recognise that renewable energy can help the region with the imperative to modernise its energy system and to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. Kazakhstan welcomes the efforts made today. I believe the EXPO, over the next couple of months, will provide the international community with a platform for valuable discussions on expertise, innovative solutions and promising projects in the renewable energy field,” said Kanat Bozumbayev, Kazakhstan’s Energy Minister at the Energy Ministerial.
Recently, the region has made strides in diversifying its energy mix, and installed 500 megawatts of new non-hydro renewable power capacity over the last two years. However, remote areas still lack reliable power and heat, issues which renewable energy and energy efficiency together can help address.
Speaking at the Ministerial, Mohamed El-Farnawany, Director of Strategic Management and Executive Direction at IRENA said, “The Action Plan reflects the commitment of the countries of Central Asia to further their economic development, through accelerating the uptake of renewable energy. It also enables them to reduce carbon emissions and fulfil their international objectives and national ambitions in this regard.”
Countries identified the following areas for IRENA collaboration to facilitate the deployment of renewable energy in the region: resource assessments, integration of variable renewable energy into power grids, policies and regulations for renewable energy deployment, renewable energy statistics and data collection, project facilitation, and awareness raising. IRENA will work closely with countries of the region as well as partners and stakeholders to support ongoing work to advance renewable energy development in Central Asia.
IRENA is mandated to be the global hub for renewable energy cooperation and information exchange by 150 Members (149 States and the European Union). 30 additional countries are in the accession process and actively engaged. IRENA promotes the widespread adoption and sustainable use of all forms of renewable energy, in the pursuit of sustainable development, energy access, energy security and low-carbon economic growth and prosperity.