Kazakhstan (2014)

Degree of reliance on imported energy: 

Owing to the Soviet-era structure of Kazakhstan's gas and electricity distribution networks, which are concentrated in the northern and western regions, closest to the main sources, Kazakhstan is forced to import both resources for the southern regions.  The country imports electricity from Russia, the Kyrgyz Republic and Uzbekistan, owing to the region's lack of installed generating capacity.

Main sources of Energy: 

Total installed capacity of power plants as of January 1, 2012: 19 798,1 MW,
Available capacity – 15 765 MW.

Power Generation (2011): 81.79 billion kWh
Fossil fuel 89%
Hydro: 10%
Renewables: near 1%

In 2011, over 85% of all electricity is produced by thermal power plants (TP), with about 38% of powergeneration capacities (6,700 MW) attributed to heat and power plants (CHP). A total of 70% of TPPs use coal and only 15% use gas/mazut The coal fired plants are located in north coal producing regions. Hydroelectric facilities are located mostly along the Irtysh River. The southern regions of Kazakhstan do not have an enough energy resources and electricity consumption is covered by import from the Kyrgyz Republic.

Kazakhstan total primary energy supply (excluding electricity trade) was 65,835 ktoe in 2009. Share of TPES was the following:

  • Coal/peat: 47.9%
  • Gas:29.1 %
  • Oil: 21.8%
  • Hydro: 0.9%
  • Combined renewable and waste: 0.2%.



Extent of the network: 

The transmission and distribution system comprises three networks, two in the north and one in the south, totalling 285,000 km of distribution lines. Of the northern networks, one exports electricity to Russia and the other imports it from Russia. The southern network—connected to the Unified Energy System (UES) of Central Asia—imports electricity from the Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

Capacity concerns: 

Around 15% of electricity generated is lost during transmission, owing to the dilapidated state of Kazakhstan's infrastructure. Some 94% of gas turbines, 57% of steam turbines and 33% of boiler plants have been in use for over 20 years. With consumption rising and the country's power stations in need of rehabilitation, between USD 15bn and USD 20bn in investment in the generating sector—including for the construction of new power stations—will be required by 2015, according to government sources. An additional 8.2 GW in generating capacity will be added.

Potential for Renewable Energy: 

Hydropower accounts for approximately 12% of Kazakhstan’s total generating capacity. Average annual hydropower generation in Kazakhstan amounts to 7.78 billion kWh. By absolute indices of potential hydro resources Kazakhstan is third amongst CIS countries. Hydropower potential of Kazakhstan is estimated at about 170 billion kWh per year, technically feasible – 62 billion kWh, economically feasible – 27 billion kWh, effectively used - 7–8 billion kWh per year (8,860.9 million kWh in 2002).  Hydro resources are spread throughout the country, but there are three major districts: the Irtysh River basin with main tributaries (Bukhtarma, Uba, Ulba, Kurchum, Kardzhil, South-Eastern zone with the Ili River basin, and the Southern zone – basins of Syrdaria, Talas and Chu rivers.

Programs of small hydropower development in Kazakhstan include reconstruction and renovation of previously constructed small HPPs, adding small HPPs to water management projects with already existing water retaining structures with the aim of utilizing waste releases, and construction of new small HPPs for power supply of users in the outlying districts of the power system. Favourable factors for the development of hydro potential are:

  • Interest of regional authorities in small hydropower
  • Private investors of small hydropower are provided with state short-term credits;
  • There are some privileges (tax holidays) in realization of investment projects

Exceptionally rich in wind resources, about 50% of Kazakhstan’s territory has average wind speeds about 4-5 m/sec at a height of 30 m. Some calculations estimate the wind potential of Kazakhstan around 1,820 billion KW/h per year spread over most of the country. Windy sites are mostly located in the Caspian Sea area of Atyray and Mangistay oblasts; and in central and southern Kazakhstan. A country wide-wind atlas is available. With a density of wind capacity about 10 MW/sq.km, there is a possibility to install thousands MW of wind farms in Kazakhstan. In May 2013, terms of an agreement have been signed by the Eurasian Development Bank for the first ever wind power plant in Kazakhstan to be located in the town of Yereimentau in the Akmola region with the 45-megawatt wind facility.Three wind power plants will be launched in Almaty oblast in the period from 2014 to 2018.

The Ministry of Industry and New Technologies of Kazakhstan has selected 10 sites
for construction of large wind power plants (WPP) with total capacity up to 1,000 MW in order
to provide for commercial generation of electricity in the amount of 2–3 billion kWh.
Only one wind power plant has been put into operation in Kazakhstan: in December 2011
Kordaiskaya WPP was launched (1,500 kW) in the Zhambyl Region.

The solar energy resource potential is quite great for the vast territory of the largest Central Asian Republic. The number of sunny hours is 2,200-3,000 per year, and the energy of solar radiation is 1,300-1,800 kW/m2/year. Despite the very favourable conditions for solar energy, there is little use of the resource yet.  Six solar plants of 50 MW are to be built in the country's southern Zhambyl region by end of 2016

The area of Kazakhstan occupied by forests reaches more than 10 million hectares that represents 4% of the whole territory of country, from which 4.7 million hectares are covered by saxaul. In 1990, the volume of logging in forests made up about 3 million clear m3 per year.  Wood processing at woodworking factories as well as the wood, which is used as firewood, make up almost 1.3 million clear m3 or 1 million tons. Thus, the energy potential of timber waste comprises more than 200 thousand toe.

Kazakhstan possesses a large resource of middle and low temperature thermal water. Evaluation of geothermal resources was carried out in accordance with testing results for numerous wells drilled for oil and gas exploration and production. The most prospective geothermal reservoirs were found in Cretaceous formations in the South and South west of Kazakhstan.

The geothermal field Kaplanbek (near the city of Shymkent) with thermal water temperature of
80°C is used for the heat supply of residential buildings. Thermal water resources (temperature 80–120°C) near the city of Almaty are used for heating greenhouses in winter and for air-conditioning in summer.

Potential for Energy Efficiency: 

Kazakhstan has room for improving its level of energy efficiency. Potential for enhancement of energy efficiency in industry is high (approx. from 10 to up to 30%); the main reasons are usage of outdated technologies and equipment. Kazakhstan’s total primary energy supply divided by gross domestic product (TPES/GDP) -an indicator used by the International Energy Agency (IEA)- is 1.84, in the same class as in Russia (1.65), but many times higher than Western Europe (0.17).  The figures confirm the high intensive consumption of energy in the country. 

The energy intensity of the national economy is high for various reasons, including a high share of the energy intensity economy and usage of outdated technologies and equipment. Kazakhstan’s total primary energy supply divided by (TPES/GDP), an indicator used by the international energy agency (IEA), is 1.84; in the same class as in Russia (1.65), but many times higher than in Western Europe (0.17). Currently, most of the industrial companies of Kazakhstan are privatized and owned by local and foreign companies. Energy intensity could be reduced by introducing new technologies in energy intensive industries and by promoting energy service companies.


Kazakhstan is one of the first countries of former Soviet Union that has developed a functioning electric power market. As a result of the reforms in the 90s, the following milestones were reached:

  • Division of power sector into competitive entities and regulated monopolies;
  • Large scale privatization of generation;
  • Creation of the Kazakhstan Electricity Grid Operating Company (KEGOC);
  • Formation of regional distribution companies (RECs).

The Concept of further development of market relations in the Kazakhstan power sector was approved in February of 2004. The Kazakhstan Electricity Law was passed in July 2004, providing framework for power market development (amended in July 2011 to. provide for transparency of power plants’ investment activity).

Petroleum and Gas
Market participants in the gas sector are: the vertically integrated state oil and gas company, JSC NC KazMunaiGaz; large independent (private) gas producers such as TengizShevroil and Karachaganak Integrated Organisation; the main transportation network owned by JSC KazTransGaz (100% shares of which belong to JSC NC KazMunaiGaz); local gas distribution networks, suppliers and customers. JSC KazTransGaz owns packages of shares and acts as managing company for a group of gas and gas transportation companies, the main ones being:

  • JSC “Intergas Central Asia” which is an operator of main gas transportation
  • JSC “KazTransGaz Aimak” engaged in natural gas distribution in the regions of the country and its sale to companies, organisations and the public
  • several other local distribution companies

In addition to the KazTransGaz system, gas distribution in certain regions is carried out by other local companies too, but their influence upon the gas market is insignificant. Kazakhstan’s gas market is not open to competition. Gas supply is carried out based on gas supply contracts concluded between the suppliers and the consumers. Gas transportation is carried out based on a gas transportation contract. A contract for gas transportation is proposed and, as a rule, the transporter submits it to the supplier who previously filed an application for gas transportation.

Structure / extent of competition: 

Kazakhstan privatized most of its power sector with the exception of high voltage transmission. Around 97% of power plants in Kazakhstan are privately owned.  State owned electricity companies such as KEGOC, Kazakhstan Wholesale Electric Power Market (KOREM), and Samruk-Energo, are managed by the National Wealth Fund Samruk-Kazyna. Large power stations: Ekibastuzskaya GRES-2, Zhambylskaya GRES, Bukhtarminskaya GES, Shulbinskaya GES, Ust’-Kamenogorskaya GES, Shardarinskaya GES, Almatyenergo (or Almaty Power Consolidated, APC), in whole accumulating 28% of generation capacity, are managed by Samruk-Energo. Shulbinskaya GES and Ust’-Kamenogorskaya GES are under the concession holding by AES Corporation till 2015. 

Electricity supply to the Kazakh electricity market is provided by supplying companies, which purchase electricity from generating companies; or during centralized auctions sell it to retail consumers in the end-use sector. A total of 45 electricity supplying companies operate in the Republic.

KEGOC is 100% government-owned transmission company. Kazakhstan built two north-south and north-west transmission lines (first in 1997 and the second in 2009) and connected its southern and western regions with main energy resources in north and decreased dependence from neighbouring countries. There are 29 regional distributing companies.

The government does not regulate prices for electricity, and consumers have free choice among providers of electric power. Wholesale electricity prices are determined by the market, which is administrated by the market operator JSC KOREM.

Existence of an energy framework and programmes to promote sustainable energy: 

Kazakhstan plans to promote RES development in the following key directions:

  • Creation of favorable conditions for construction and operation of RES capacities;
  • Promotion of electricity and heat generation from RES and creation of favorable conditions for efficient integration of RES capacities in the Unified Power System;
  • Allocation for investment incentives.

The Program of Electricity Sector Development for 2010–2014 includes wind power plants that are in energy balance, and that can contribute to about 1% of the total energy consumption by 2015.

Law on Power Industry
The Law on Power Industry is dated 9 July 2004. This law regulates social relations arising in course of generation, transmission and use of electric and thermal energy.

Law on the Use of Renewable Energy Sources
In June 2009 Kazakhstan's parliament passed the final amendments to the Law on the Use of Renewable Energy Sources, which established a full regulatory framework for the division. The law obliges all electricity transmission companies to allow the renewables sector to connect to the grid. The law also provides for a number of incentives including feed-in tariffs adopted end of August 2013 (with rates to be determined). In addition, the legislation states that 5% of Kazakhstan's total energy balance must be renewable by 2024.

Kyoto Protocol
Kazakhstan signed the Kyoto Protocol in March 1999, and this was finally approved by parliament in February 2009, making it the last signatory country to ratify the treaty.  President Nazarbayev ratified the document formally into law in June 2009. Kazakhstan will now be able to sell emission rights to countries that have exceeded their pollution quotas. According to the country's own latest assessment (2009) for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), its total greenhouse gas emissions in 2005 amounted to the equivalent of 237m tonnes of carbon dioxide, or about 74% of the level in 1990.

The energy industry accounted for 83% of the total, up from 80% in 1990. Under this assessment, most of the proposed reductions in greenhouse gas emissions over the forecast period can be achieved by upgrading existing generating capacity to make it more fuel-efficient and cleaner, a process that will require substantial investment. The assessment also envisions greater use of coal from 2015 onwards, because of its cost advantages over other fuels, including natural gas.

National Programme for Accelerated Industrial and Innovation Development
The National Programme for Accelerated Industrial and Innovation Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan for the period from 2010 to 2014. One of the main targets of the Programme is to reduce energy intensity of industry in order to achieve competitiveness of Kazakhstan’s economy. The programme also sets the target of achieving 1% share of electricity produced from RES by 2015. 

National Programme for Transition to Sustainable Development
The National Programme for Transition to Sustainable Development calls for increasing RES’ share in Kazakhstan’s energy balance to 5% by 2024.

Energy Efficiency 2020 Programme
In August 2013, Kazakhstan adopted the Energy Efficiency 2020 Program that would reduce emission 10% every year until 2015. Adopted by Prime Minister Serik Akhmetov, this new law would help reduce emissions and help with energy efficient solutions from large companies to small families. 2,000 industrial enterprises would have to undergo energy audits by July 2015. The program in the long run shall reduce the amount of energy per square meter by 30% and reduce costs by 14%.

Current energy debates or legislation: 

Draft Law on Energy Efficiency
Energy efficiency has since 2007 been drawing significant attention in Kazakhstan. A Government-sanctioned draft Law on Energy Efficiency was developed that year, and in June 2009 the draft was filed with the Majilis, the lower chamber of Kazakhstan's Parliament, for eventual adoption. Upon request of the Government, EBRD hired consultants for assistance in drafting the law, considering that the international best practice in this sphere should be taken into account in preparation of the new draft law.

From the time of submission till June 2010, the draft of the law was under revision in Majilis and finally, it was sent back to the Government for further improvement. Later, it was sent to the Ministry of Industry and New Technologies (MINT).  The new draft of the Law was renamed into Law on Energy Saving and Enhancement of Energy Efficiency. There are considered conceptual changes in the new Law, e.g. it included a chapter on ESCOs, there is a set of specific goals on reduction of energy intensity of GDP by 10% in 2015 and 25% by 2020.

In August 2013, 22 legal acts and 3,000 energy standards have been approved to implement the new law “On saving energy and energy efficiency”.

Major energy studies: 

Kazakhstan is partner of The Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program.  CAREC is a partnership of 10 countries and 6 multilateral institutions working to promote development through cooperation, leading to accelerated economic growth and poverty reduction. By promoting and facilitating regional cooperation in the priority areas of transport, trade facilitation, trade policy, and energy.  CAREC efforts on energy have three pillars:

  • energy demand–supply balance and infrastructure constraints;
  • regional dispatch and regulatory development;
  • and analysis of energy–water linkages.


Kazakhstan is a partner country of the EU INOGATE energy programme, which has four key topics: enhancing energy security, convergence of member state energy markets on the basis of EU internal energy market principles, supporting sustainable energy development, and attracting investment for energy projects of common and regional interest.

Role of government: 

In March 2010, several ministries were reorganized; some of them were dissolved and their functions transferred to other agencies, and some new ones emerged. Thus, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (MEMR) was reorganized into the Ministry of Oil and Gas and the Ministry of Industry and Trade (МIТ) of Kazakhstan was reorganized into the Ministry of Industry and New Technologies (MINT).  All matters related to the national energy complex will be regulated by the MINT.

Prior to the reorganization, MEMR had the Department for Energy Saving, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Sources, its activity was focused on coordination of the national policy in the sphere of energy saving, energy efficiency and renewable energy sources. After reorganization, the management of energy saving and energy efficiency was established within the Department of New Technologies and Administration of Usage of Renewable Energy Sources in the Ministry of Industry and New Technologies.

Ministry of Environmental Protection
The Ministry of Environmental Protection plays an important role in the state management of the energy sector and is responsible for climate change issues.

Government agencies in sustainable energy: 

Committee of Governmental Energetic Surveillance
Within the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, the Committee of Governmental Energetic Surveillance is responsible for the technical supervision of the energy generation, transmission, distribution, and consumption. Furthermore the draft law on energy efficiency envisages that the committee will be the responsible government agency related to energy efficiency.

Energy planning procedures: 

KAZSEFF - Kazakhstan Sustainable Energy Finance Facility
The EBRD established a USD 75 million framework facility in the form of dedicated credit lines to local financial institutions for on-lending to private sector companies to finance investments in sustainable energy in 2008.  Since then, eligible investments that include energy efficiency in the industrial sector and small renewable energy projects have benefited of expertise transfer and build, among both banks and companies, related to energy efficiency. The banks will build expertise in assessing the risk and creditworthiness of clients for energy efficiency loans, while the enterprises are expected to become more familiar with banks requirements for providing energy efficiency loans.

Energy regulator Date of creation: 

A separate regulatory authority, the Agency of the Republic of Kazakhstan on Regulation of Natural Monopolies (ANMR) was established in 1999. It is responsible for state regulation of activity of natural monopolies and prices of goods (works, services) on regulated markets. ANMR has territorial bodies, which are legal entities.

Its predecessor organisation, the State Committee of Kazakh SSR on the support of the new economic structures and limitation of monopolistic activity (Kazakhstan’s first anti-monopoly body), was established in 1991 to support the new economic structures and restrain monopolistic activity. On 29 September 2004, the functions of natural monopolies’ regulation and protection of competition were separated, resulting in the transfer of the pricing authority to ANMR and authority for protection of competition to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, within which the Committee on Competition Protection was established.

Degree of independence: 

Management of ANMR is carried out by its Chairman, who bears a personal liability for work of ANMR, and also by a collective management body, ANMR’s board. The Board is made up of the Chairman of the Agency, his deputies and representatives of the Government. Board decisions are adopted by a simple majority of votes of the board members.

The Chairman, his deputies (on the recommendation of the Chairman) and members of the board, are appointed by the Government. There are no specific term lengths for the Chairman, Deputies or representatives of the Government and no apparent limits on reappointment. Members of the Board of Directors, including the Chairman, may be dismissed, without explanation, by the Government.

ANMR also has an Executive Secretary, who is responsible for implementation of the policy formed by the Chairman of ANMR and who is assigned for an indefinite term and is discharged by the President, with the concurrence of the Prime-Minister.  ANMR is fully financed from the state budget according to the budget proceedings stipulated by the law.

Regulatory framework for sustainable energy: 

  • Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan on Electricity of January 1, 2009.
  • Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan No.165-IV «About Support of Use of Renewable Energy of July 4, 2009. Heat  and electricity cogeneration are handled separately
  • Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan No. 588-II “On Power Industry” of July 9, 2004
  • Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan No. 210 “On Energy Saving” of December 25, 1997 and amended in 2006, with new amendments under consideration. There is developed a draft of the new Law on Energy Saving and Enhancement of Energy Efficiency by Ministry of Industry and New Technologies.

Regulatory roles: 

ANMR is a central executive body which carries out state regulation of the activity of natural monopolies, as well as of the prices for goods (works, services) of market entities occupying dominant (monopolistic) position in the market, particularly in the power and heat industry, oil transportation, oil products and gas. ANMR has the authority to set tariffs and define the tariff methodology. ANMR does not have the power to authorize new capacity, but does have the right to exercise control over procurements in limited circumstances. In the event of a violation of the legislation on natural monopolies and regulated markets, ANMR issues binding instructions for market entities to eliminate such violations. In the event that a regulated entity’s actions cause damage to customers, ANMR has the right to set a reduced (compensatory) tariff in favour of the violated party.

The activity of electricity generation, transmission and distribution, operation of power plants, power grids and substations, as well as electricity purchase for resale, are all subject to licensing. The state body authorized to issue licences for such types of activity is ANMR.

Role of government department in energy regulation: 

On 13 October 2007 the Agency on Competition Protection (ACP) was established and replaced the abrogated Committee on Competition Protection.

Regulatory barriers: 

Analysis shows that RES development in Kazakhstan is restrained by several factors among which most critical is lack of the regulatory and legal framework. Other important factors may include lack of financing of scientific research. Nevertheless incentives for RES and  EEhave been introduced recently. But despite the efforts made by the government to support a positive environment for RE and EE, international observers point out administrative restrictions for their development:

  • There is currently neither a national nor a municipal energy efficiency agency in place.
  • EE and the deployment of RES had till recentlya moderate role in the National Energy Programme of Kazakhstan.


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