A steppe in the right direction

In a speech about countries with high renewable energy ambitions, UK energy minister Charles Hendry last week reeled off a list of the usual suspects, which was topped by China and also included Saudi Arabia.

And then he told his audience about the renewable plans of Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan? Surely some mistake, minister? But no, as the following day, no less institution than the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development announced it is considering parting with up to $133m of funding for wind farms in the country, which is the ninth biggest in the world yet is home to a population of 15 million, twice that of the city of London. Not likely to be too many not-in-my-back-yard planning issues there then.

The country’s industry minister said it wanted to be generating 1 billion kilowatt hours of electricity in just over two years’ time, and an executive from Danish wind giant Vestas was quoted as saying “the pure wind potential in Kazakhstan is much, much higher because they have an enormous land mass”.

A German delegation was in Greece last week to examine the country’s solar potential for Germany’s renewable firms. Maybe they should instead have followed the winds east.


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