Tag: renewable energy

A conversation with François de Rugy & the Ambassador of Kazakhstan on energy and France-Kazakhstan relations

On 30 June 2023, Joël Ruet sat down with former Minister of State, Minister for the Ecological Transition and Solidarity, and former President of the French National Assembly, François de Rugy, and the current Ambassador of Kazakhstan to France, Gulsara Arystankulova, to discuss bilateral relations between France and Kazakhstan and the prospects for energy and technology partnerships between the two countries.

This discussion was part of a symposium held at the French Senate on the theme of “Energy sovereignty for Europe and France: what solutions, what partners?” The Bridge Tank’s recent work in Kazakhstan is best exemplified by our contribution to the development of an auction mechanism for renewable energy in 2021 and the highlighting of the challenges faced by foreign investors in the country.

Future ambitions and cooperation

During her address, Ambassador Gulsara Arystankulova emphasised the profound relationship that links France and Kazakhstan, and the close cooperation between the two countries in the energy sector. In November 2022, the President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokaïev, was notably welcomed to Paris by President Macron. This cooperation has been particularly strengthened since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with Kazakhstan offering a key alternative to Russian oil and gas. With its wealth of raw materials and as the oil giant of Central Asia, the country plays a key role in Europe’s energy supply and will be a central player in the continent’s energy future.

For despite its status as an oil giant, Kazakhstan is pursuing an ambitious energy transition strategy aimed at gasifying its energy mix and achieving 50% renewable energy by 2050. To meet the supply and interconnection challenges posed by the country’s size, Kazakhstan is betting on a process of energy decentralisation based on state-subsidised green energy mini-systems.

Kazakhstan’s ambition to be carbon neutral by 2060 is underpinned by considerable assets. With its vast open spaces, abundant sunshine and rare earth resources, the country offers great potential for the development of renewable energies. French groups are already positioning themselves in the country, such as TotalEnergies, which has launched a 1GW onshore wind farm project in the Zhambyl region of southern Kazakhstan, in partnership with the National Wealth Fund Samruk-Kazyna and the National Company KazMunayGas.

Partnerships and issues of sovereignty

According to Joël Ruet, there are many opportunities for not only energy cooperation but technical and technological cooperation between France and Kazakhstan. The world’s leading producer of uranium, Kazakhstan supplies the uranium needed to run France’s nuclear power plants, notably through a close partnership with French nuclear giant Orano.

As the third largest foreign investor in Kazakhstan, France has every interest in positioning itself to generate new partnerships and launch new industries in the country, as well as continuing to develop its know-how and human resources, particularly in the nuclear and hydrogen sectors. Cooperation between France and Kazakhstan cannot therefore be limited to its energy component and to the supply of raw materials. This cooperation must bolster its technical and technological component in order to develop joint research, knowledge and innovation in the sector.

In the context of these partnerships, it is important to consider energy in its various forms, not only through the issue of electrification but also by taking into account energy in its liquid and gaseous forms, which represent a significant proportion of the energy mix.

Placing this observation in the context of French energy sovereignty, François de Rugy emphasised that energy sovereignty is not just a question of electricity, but of oil and gas – resources that, in France’s case, are almost entirely imported. To ensure security of supply, France will therefore need to diversify sources of supply, but also electrify uses by decarbonising transport, heating and industry.

In recent years, however, France has been faced with a new challenge resulting from the declining availability of nuclear power plants due to maintenance and declining production capacity. According to François de Rugy, it is therefore crucial to invest in both renewable energies and the renewal of France’s nuclear power plants, using France’s strengths and expertise in these areas.

The evolution of Kazakhstan’s energy sector undoubtedly offers great potential for cooperation with France and Europe. Although the country currently supplies fossil fuels and raw materials to the Old Continent, it will be an essential partner in the energy transition and in the development of renewable and low-carbon energy sources.

Green Hydrogen prospects at COP 26

During COP26 in Glasgow, The Bridge Tank centred its contribution to the conference on the theme of green hydrogen and its potential as a decarbonised energy carrier. An active participant in COPs since COP22 and the Innovation Forum it helped organise, and the only think tank invited to the launch of the Hydrogen Council in Davos in 2017, The Bridge Tank had defined hydrogen as one of the key issues for COP26/COP15 in the run-up to the summit through a special report.

Represented by its chairman Joel Ruet and our board member Raphael Schoentgen, Founder & CEO of Hydrogen Advisors, The Bridge Tank gathered insights and shared its expertise on hydrogen through two sessions on the subject. On 11 November, The Bridge Tank took part in the Hydrogen Transition Summit, which brought together hydrogen experts from around the world to discuss the role this molecule will play in the transition to a net-zero future. Raphael Schoentgen, board member of The Bridge Tank, was one of the speakers at the summit.

Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport of Scotland inaugurated the Hydrogen Transition Summit by underpinning the role of bilateral city-region partnerships to accelerate the setting up of hydrogen supply chains.

In several regions of the world, the economic and technological conditions to scale up hydrogen are already in place, Raphael Schoentgen argued, adding that public support for hydrogen is now strong. While the carbon price matters, knowing who the financial off takers will be and having finance in equity are two key drives to scale up, he added.

Green Hydrogen Application

One day earlier, on 10 November 2021, UNIDO and the Austrian Ministry of Climate Action organised a side event on “Green Hydrogen Application: Driving growth of renewable energy and advancing inclusive energy transition” at the SDG 7 Pavilion. The event gathered:

  • Stephan Sicars, Managing Director of the Directorate of Environment and Energy, UNIDO,
  • Leonore Gewessler, Minister of Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology of Austria,
  • Rolando Castro-Córdoba, Vice Minister of Energy and Environmental Quality of Costa Rica,
  • Rebecca Maserumule, Chief Director: Hydrogen and Energy at the Department of Science and Innovation, South Africa,
  • Ahmed Benlarabi from IRESEN (Institut de Recherche en Énergie Solaire et Énergies Nouvelles),
  • Alicia Eastman from InterContinental Energy.

Minister Gewessler set a framework on increasing complementarities between electricity storage, long distance mobility, carbon pricing, and directing hydrogen in priority towards hard to abate sectors like steel. This particular use of green hydrogen has considerable potential in South Africa, Dr Maserumule noted, as it could help decarbonise the mining & chemical sectors but also public transportation in the context of the country’s revised Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC).

In Oman, the sun and wind in the desert could give rise to the production of green hydrogen and green ammonia, as well as producing water and fixing atmospheric carbon through the production of synthetic fuels.

Unlocking The Potential for Wind Energy in Southeast Asia: Evidence from Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand

The objective of this research paper is to provide an overview of the wind energy market in Southeast Asia and bridge the analytical gap.  Continue reading “Unlocking The Potential for Wind Energy in Southeast Asia: Evidence from Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand”

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