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The causes of the high energy intensity of the Kazakh economy: A characterization of its energy system

Publication date: Available online 27 May 2014
Author(s): Antonio Gómez , César Dopazo , Norberto Fueyo
The primary energy intensity of Kazakhstan is among the highest in the world. The aim of this paper is to explore, in a quantitative way, the reasons for this condition, and to highlight the opportunities for improvement. To do so, we have developed a detailed ‘bottom-up’ model of the Kazakh energy sector. With this model, we have calculated the potential energy savings on both the demand and supply sides, and for all the economy sectors. This potential is defined as the difference between the current energy consumption in each sector/activity and the energy consumption if best available technologies or energy efficiency standards prevailing in developed countries were adopted in Kazakhstan. We conclude that the main causes of the energy inefficiency in Kazakhstan are: the excessive energy demand of buildings (especially for space heating) in the household and service sector, the inefficiency of the industry sector, particularly in the iron and steel and non-ferrous metals subsectors, the obsolescence of the heating and power generation assets, and the inefficient management of associated gas (flaring and re-injection in oil wells). With current energy efficiency standards prevailing in developed countries, the primary energy consumption in Kazakhstan in 2010 would be reduced by 48.6%, from 75.4 to 38.7 Mtoe.

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