It sounds like a wild plan, but the German company Svevind claims to be well on its way to developing a gigantic green power project on the steppes of Kazakhstan. The wind and solar park is expected to have a capacity of 45 gigawatts (GW). Two-thirds of this (30 GW) will be converted into hydrogen. This would make it one of the largest green energy projects in the world. For comparison, 30 GW is almost equal to the total green energy production in the Netherlands in 2020.
Svevind and the national investment company Kazach Invest did not disclose in their joint letter of intent where exactly the project will be located. They have only hinted that it will be in western and/or central Kazakhstan. That would presumably be near the oil pipeline that runs from the Caspian Sea (port city of Atıraw) to China (Xinjiang state). This seems obvious given that some of the hydrogen is intended for export to Europe and Asia.
The letter of intent further states that 30 GW is enough to produce 3 million metric tons of hydrogen. The hydrogen could also be further processed into ammonia. This could be used as a fuel for aircraft and ships, for instance.
Kazakhstan also needs to go green one day
“Hydrogen can be used in transportation, day-to-day life, the energy sector and the railroad industry. All this helps to promote a low-carbon society. This is in line with the goals of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the commitments made under international agreements,” stated Meirzhan Yussupov, Chair of the Board of Kazakh Invest.
At present, Kazakhstan’s economy is still largely dependent on the export of oil, gas and coal.
According to Wolfgang Kropp, CEO and major shareholder of Svevind, Kazakhstan has the potential to become one of the world leaders in renewable energy and low-cost hydrogen. “We think Kazakhstan is the place to be for green hydrogen,” he added.
Incidentally, more countries think this way too. Hydrogen and green ammonia are seen by many countries as the fuel of the future. It is remarkable that more and more of them happen to be oil states. Saudi Arabia, for example, is working on Neom, a super-modern city that will run entirely on green energy, including hydrogen.
According to Kropp, negotiations with Kazakhstan began in 2018. The plan was presented to the government in May this year and now the letter of intent has also been signed. So far, the parties have not made any announcement as to when construction will begin or when the project will be completed.
Wind power in Sweden
When it comes to Svevind and Kazakh Invest, we are dealing with two well-known market players. Kazakh Invest is the national investment company of the Kazakh state and Svevind has developed the largest (onshore) wind project in Europe in Sweden.
This involves Markbygden, a cluster of wind farms around the village of Piteå. Once fully completed in 2022, this project will consist of 1101 wind turbines (equivalent in size to the Eiffel Tower), which together will be good for about 4 GW of power.
Svevind is mainly involved as a developer. The projects will eventually end up (split into sections) with large institutional investors such as pension funds and insurers.
Read our hydrogen dossier.