Western Kazakhstan is best known for being an oil and gas hub, but it hopes to soon become the leading export of clean, sustainable energy. The government has signed a $50 billion deal with an international renewables company Svevind to build one of the world’s five largest green hydrogen production facilities in Mangystau Region.
Hyrasia One is an all-in-one hydrogen production facility that will use clean energy sources, such as solar panels and wind turbines, to separate hydrogen gas from water. By 2030 they hope to start production and reach 2 million tons annually by 2032.
That’s approximately one-fifth of the EU’s 2030 target for green hydrogen imports, despite the logistical challenges that would be associated with transporting the gas from Kazakhstan all the way to Europe.
Wolfgang Kropp, chief executive officer of Svevind Energy Group, says the meteorological conditions and skills base in western Kazakhstan is ideal for the project.
“Kazakhstan’s Mangystau region offers very favourable natural resources. The wind conditions are very stable and strong, comparable to near-coast offshore wind parks, the solar radiation is as strong as in southern Europe and the wide steppe regions are widely unused and sparsely populated,” he told Eurasianet
“Because of the experience as an oil and gas exporting country, there is a lot of know-how in Kazakhstan that will help to realize Hyrasia One.”
Kropp also noted that production costs are competitive.
This project will use wind and photovoltaic plants to generate renewable energy. It could have a power output of up to 40 gigawatts, with 120 terawatt-hours of annual production. The statement was given by Hyrasia One, who is owned by the Svevind group.
This energy will supply 20 gigawatts that’ll be located near the port of Kuryk on the Caspian Sea coast. Burning hydrogen only emits water vapour.
The company said that the project can provide high-grade hydrogen on an industrial scale. It has the potential to become a key pillar in emerging hydrogen markets in Europe, Kazakhstan and Asia.
The company informed Eurasianet that it’s still too early to make any statements about export destinations or routes.
Natural gas pipelines are already in use and need to be repurposed, or hydrogen needs to be mixed in with natural gas. Transport via rail or ship is also feasible, but it’s not as reliable.
The European Union is seeking to switch from Russian gas to cleaner sources of energy, like hydrogen. However, Kazakhstan currently ships most of its product through Russia, and the conflict in Ukraine is keeping the main export route closed. Alternative routes are being developed for Kazakh goods, but the situation may change before this project takes off.
The Caspian Sea is shrinking and will be a potential source for the production of hydrogen. Hyrasia One was unable to specify how much water it would need, but because it “must be used sustainably to protect the environment,” it vowed to keep withdrawals as low as possible.
The construction of the plan will create 3,500 jobs and 1,800 permanent ones. This is welcome news for a region that is already struggling with high levels of socioeconomic dissatisfaction in spite of its oil resources.
The company will provide an initial investment of $5-6 billion and is seeking long-term investors to build the project at a cost of $40-50 billion.
The land investment agreement defines economic and legal points on land, infrastructure access, and unhindered movement of goods. “This gives the project which has been in development for three years, certainty for investors,” Hyrasia One said.
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