The lack of electricity in remote regions of Kazakhstan, particularly in protected areas like the Kolsai Kolderi National Park, is a critical challenge. This area is renowned for its unique biodiversity, housing rare red-listed species, and as a result, relies on a continuous on-site presence to safeguard its distinctive landscape. The absence of electricity in this area significantly impacts the living and working conditions of permanent residents. 

In addressing this challenge, the deployment of renewable energy sources, particularly modern wind-solar systems, has emerged as a viable solution. They address the electricity access challenge while aligning harmoniously with environmental sustainability by reducing carbon emissions and other pollutants in the atmosphere. Aligning with national priorities outlined in Kazakhstan 2050 and the 2025 Strategic Development Plan, the transformative initiative by UNDP with GEF financing encompasses the installation of modern wind-solar systems, representing a novel approach to decentralized renewable solutions that cater to the specific energy needs of remote areas. The adoption of these decentralized sustainable energy technologies offers a dual promise — firstly, elevating the living and working conditions of communities and secondly, contributing significantly to biodiversity conservation and environmental impact mitigation, aligning with SDGs 7, 13, and 15 by ensuring access to affordable and clean energy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and lowering demand for fossil fuels and minimizing disruption in a delicate ecosystem and focusing on life on land and protecting the habitat. 

IEA estimates that more than half of the population expected to gain access to electricity by 2030 will use off-grid solutions, 90% powered by renewable energy. These decentralized systems provide affordable, inclusive pathways for expanding electricity access, supporting biodiversity, and enabling sustainable livelihoods. Promoting energy-efficient, small-scale renewable energy initiatives in Kazakhstan, one of the largest greenhouse gas emitters in Europe and Central Asia, opens up a range of opportunities for the country to diversify its energy mix, for small and medium companies (SMEs) and for end-use consumers. The case of Kazakhstan serves as a compelling example, highlighting the potential to address electricity access challenges not only in the region but also in underserved areas globally. 

Read the full SEH Bulletin Issue 5.

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