Kazakhstan has not been at the centre of global climate policies and attention in the past. Today, the country ranks 7th globally in terms of carbon intensity, and its economy is highly dependent on fossil fuels – both for export and for national energy production. And recent political developments also make it an interesting case. The Kazakh government is seeking to diversify its economy and has committed to carbon neutrality by 2060. The changes announced are fundamental and pose a significant challenge.
All the more so given Kazakhstan’s increasingly important geopolitical role – with its two big neighbours Russia and China seeking to strengthen their influence, and the European Union as its largest investor. The EU recently stepped up its cooperation with Kazakhstan, the biggest Central Asian country, with a particular focus on energy and climate policies.
This publication aims to provide an up-to-date overview of Kazakhstan’s power sector, focusing especially on the role of coal, the need for modernisation and the vast potential for renewables. If the country succeeds in its commitment to carbon neutrality, it will set an example not only to neighbouring countries in Central Asia, but also to other medium-sized carbon-heavy economies around the world.