Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 12/19/2012 -- Demand growth is healthy, reflecting economic expansion. Plans for new generating capacity continue to focus on conventional thermal sources, with gas taking the lead thanks to the state's substantial domestic resources. Asian influence is growing, with China and South Korea entering the power arena as financiers of and contractors for generating facilities. However, Russia may emerge as the partner of choice if Kazakhstan opts to bring nuclear capacity online.
In spite of Kazakhstan's vast gas reserves, the country's power industry is seeking to avoid overdependence on the fuel in electricity generation and has a diversified policy involving coal, hydropower and renewables. Nuclear has been side-lined, but may well emerge as a key component of the power portfolio over the long term, thanks to huge uranium wealth. System losses are considerable and improved efficiency could narrow the supply/demand gap. Ongoing high level investment in generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure is therefore necessary, and foreign partners, largely from Asia and Russia, are being lined up for the major projects.
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The key trends and developments in the Kazakh electricity market are:
- Growth in Kazakh power consumption is forecast to average almost 4.3% per annum between 2012 and 2021. This reflects the relative immaturity of the energy market, with risk on the upside as increased hydrocarbons-backed wealth stimulates the economy. Growth in power generation is anticipated to average 4.2% per annum over the period, which may prove insufficient to increase market coverage and ensure adequate supply, unless system losses can be reduced greatly.
- According to government forecasts, the production of electricity will increase to 150.2 terrawatt hours (TWh) by 2030 (broadly in line with BMI forecasts), with power demand rising to almost 145TWh over the same period. Existing investment plans in the power sector amount to KZT1,147bn to 2015, with an estimated KZT9,500bn needed between 2012 and 2030. The share of renewable resources in power generation is expected to rise by 11% by 2030.
- State grid operator Kazakhstan Electricity Grid Operating Company (KEGOC) has already approved a long-term investment strategy, under which KZT530bn will be invested by 2025. KEGOC has embarked upon several projects, including the rehabilitation of substations, transmission lines and other equipment, as well as building a substation near Almaty and power lines to the Moinak power plant. KEGOC is considering building a 500 kilovolt (kV) north-south power line and transmission lines in order to connect the west Kazakh regions of Uralsk, Atyrau and Mangystau to the national grid. Kazakhstan will probably delay its planned stake sale in KEGOC until 2013, according to a March 2012 statement made by Bakytzhan Sagintayev, the country's minister of trade and economic development.
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