Future Energy for Central Asia

Future Energy is the theme of the Expo 2017 trade fair, which is to be held in the summer of 2017 in the Kazakh capital city of Astana. This is no coincidence, since renewable energy is a topic widely talked about in Central Asia. Kazakhstan in particular has all the natural prerequisites to use wind and solar energy effectively. Vast steppes provide plenty of space for wind parks in spe to supply whole regions throughout the country. Uzbekistan, for its part, boasts of nearly 300 days of sunshine per year – the idea of solar power stations suggests itself. To produce its own power would mean for the Central Asian countries to become self-sufficient and independent from conventional energy supplies. At the same time, it means an active effort to mitigate climate change.

Therefore, very much in keeping with the topic of renewable energy, a group of MP participants, executives from Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, came to Kiel in late summer of 2015. The programme was funded by the Renewable Energies Export Initiative of the BMWi. The participants got to learn about the renewable energy sector, both in terms of methodology and practice. During a visit to DESY, Germany’s national research centre, they received insights on new scientific findings with regard to alternative energy sources. High-resolution x-ray microscopy provides a unique opportunity to gain knowledge of novel functional materials and nanosystems which are essential for new applications within the renewable energy sector. The three trade fairs – the building industry’s trade fair NordBau, the European Photovoltaic Solar Energy exhibition and Husum Wind, a wind energy fair – provided the MP participants with a comprehensive overview of the industry.

The Husum Wind exhibition became a special highlight. The Kazakh and Uzbek executives met with German industry leaders such as ENERCON GmbH, Senvion Deutschland GmbH, Nordex SE, and Siemens Windpower A/S. The exhibition showcased the entire value chain throughout the wind energy sector. Due to the enormous amount of interest, some conversations with the German exhibitors lasted up to 1.5 hours. Four participants displayed a significant interest in FWT, the first German company to have already delivered and installed wind power systems in Kazakhstan.
But it wasn’t the hardware alone that proved of interest for the MP participants. Of no less importance were opportunities for equipment operator training and professional development. A visit to the Bildungszentrum Erneuerbare Energien BZEE, an education centre with a focus on renewable energy, opened further prospects for future collaboration. BZEE already has 14 subsidiaries worldwide, and now first efforts are being made towards a joint venture in Astana. BZEE’s Warren Aspinell and the MP participants Felix Kim and Sarsenjan Dossanov promised to keep in touch as regards further developments. Both participants also visited the WT.SH, a business promotion agency of Schleswig-Holstein, where they got to learn about how to set up a new business and how to secure financial support for start-ups.

By Marlies Riemer-Lange
Wirtschaftsakademie Schleswig-Holstein, Kiel