The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has pledged funding for a new 100-MW solar project in Kazakhstan – its latest in a series of investments in the country’s clean energy sector.
In a statement on November 28, the EU lender said it would lend the equivalent of US$51.3 million in Kazakh tenge towards the construction of the Saran PV station in the central Karaganda province. An additional loan of US$22.2 million will come from the UN’s Green Climate Fund (GCF).
The project will cost US$105.3 million in total, according to the EBRD. Its developer is a holding group belonging to German entrepreneur Joachim Goldbeck.
Kazakhstan relies on ageing coal-fired power stations for around 70% of its electricity. But the government in Astana has unveiled plans to source 50% of power from renewables by 2050, in a bid to boost investment and tackle pollution levels in cities. In a series of auctions this year, authorities awarded over 1 GW of new wind, solar and hydropower capacity to domestic and international developers.
The EBRD has been at the forefront of Kazakhstan’s clean energy drive. It assisted Astana in crafting renewables legislation adopted in 2013, which introduced feed-in tariffs (FiTs), tax breaks and other investment incentives.
In 2014, the bank helped fund the development of Kazakhstan’s first ever wind farm – a 50-MW facility in near Yereymentau. It went on to bankroll the country’s maiden solar plant, the 50-MW Burnoye complex, the following year. It has also promised funding for an expansion that will double the station’s capacity.
The Saran plant marks the EBRD’s fifth new solar investment in Kazakhstan this year. It is also helping to overhaul power grids in the western Mangistau region, which should facilitate the link-up of new clean energy plants. Besides the GCF, the EBRD has also worked alongside the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank’s Clean Technology Fund (CTF) at these projects.