Power sector in 2030
Under Paris Agreement compatible pathways, Kazakhstan’s power sector carbon intensity declines from 490 gCO₂/kWh in 2019 to 30-200 gCO₂/kWh by 2030.
This could be achieved with a rapid shift away from Kazakhstan’s fossil fuel reliance, decreasing unabated fossil fuel combustion from 89% of the power mix in 2019 to 6-28% by 2030. Unabated coal, which accounted for 69% of the mix in 2019, is phased out by 2030 and unabated gas drops from 20% to 4-8% by 2030. This phase out of fossil fuels would need to be enabled by a high uptake of renewable energy from 1% of the power mix in 2019 to 70-94% by 2030.
To meet its carbon neutrality goal, Kazakhstan’s Doctrine to Achieve Carbon Neutrality Until 2060 indicates fossil fuels need to decrease to 56% of the power mix by 2030, with CCS not deployed until after 2030. This puts the Doctrine’s targeted unabated fossil fuel share well above our 1.5°C compatible benchmark. Coal is reduced to one-quarter of power generation in this strategy by 2030. This is largely replaced with renewables which increase to 44%, well below our benchmark, with gas also increasing to 30% by 2030.
Recent remarks by the government claim that Kazakhstan needs to reduce the share of coal generation in the power mix to 40% by 2030 through the natural decommissioning of capacities, but this is less ambitious than the carbon neutrality scenario in the Doctrine. Analysed 1.5°C pathways indicate a more rapid phase out of coal beyond business-as-usual retirements is necessary, and that coal will need to be phased about by 2030.
Towards a fully decarbonised power sector
Kazakhstan’s power sector reaches carbon neutrality between 2040 and 2046 in analysed 1.5°C compatible pathways. This is driven by a rapid phase-out of unabated coal by 2030 and unabated gas between 2036 and 2046. All unabated fossil fuels drop from 89% of the power mix in 2019 to 0-2% by 2040 and 0% by 2050 in these pathways. This would be supported by a transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050.
Kazakhstan’s Doctrine to Achieve Carbon Neutrality Until 2060 indicates fossil fuels need to decrease to 18% by 2050 to meet the carbon neutrality target; however, this assumes CCS will capture nearly all emissions from thermal power plants by 2060. CCS does not allow for the full decarbonisation of plants and has high upfront costs. The Doctrine sees a slower coal phase-out than in analysed 1.5°C pathways – by about 20 years – and an increase in gas use that is not consistent with the rapid decarbonisation of the power sector required to be 1.5°C compatible.