Europe and Central Asia are looking for solutions to fast-moving energy challenges. The question of energy security was actively discussed at the Astana International Forum.
Kazakhstan, one of the world’s most important oil producers, is aiming to increase its supply to and influence over the küresel energy market.
Roman Vassilenko is the country’s deputy foreign minister:
“Kazakhstan supplies about 8 per cent of Europe’s oil needs, but Khazakstan supplies about 20 per cent of Europe’s uranium needs. It is the largest uranium producer in the world. We used to have a nuclear power plant in the past and we now are thinking about developing a peaceful nuclear industry in Kazakhstan given the abundance of resources that we have.
“I would also mention green hydrogen, which is another source of energy and this is an industry where we see fascinating growth and fascinating interest.”
European investors have been showing interest in the region’s renewables. French energy giant TotalEnergies has signed a power purchase agreement to construct a Giga scale wind farm in Kazakhstan. Euronews asked Patrick Pouyanné, the Chairman and CEO of TotalEnergies, about the energy challenges Europe is facing.
“First, the security of supply is still a challenge for Europe. We were lucky to have good weather this winter, but next winter again if the weather is cold we could face the security of supply issue because, on the gas side, we have a lack of storage. Then, affordability. We went from a price which was fundamentally subsidized by Russian gas, local gas, to a price of energy which is higher, so of course it is a challenge for all manufacturing industries. And then, sustainability. Because we want a green deal. We can ensure the security of supply with more renewables; they are local energies. So that’s the challenge. And I think for Europe we have entered into a new era where we need political leaders to balance the challenges I just described.
The head of the International Renewable Energy Agency, Francesco La Camera, advised Europe to create solid infrastructure to get the most out of its clean energy resources:
“What is important to Europe now – as well as to the rest of the world – is to create the infrastructure, the interconnection among the grids, for the extreme potential of the Nordic Sea offshore wind, the Baltic Sea. Without the necessary connection, European citizens will not benefit from the enormous potential of clean energy that is coming from the offshore wind.”