by Nurlan Suymenbayev, analitic
Every year the interest in wind energy as one of alternative energy types is growing worldwide.
There are a number of objective factors of it. The resources traditionally used in modern energy - coal, oil, gas and uranium - are non-renewable, and aside from the fact that they will run out over the long term, now they have a stable tendency to rise in prices. Accordingly, the cost of electricity generation by conventional methods increases from year to year. The development of modern technologies leads to a cheapening of the production of wind energy. And here we are talking not only about the process of construction of wind power plants, but also the establishment of effective systems of power distribution, which in this industry is one of the most important factors. Currently, in some countries the cost of electricity generated from wind equalizes the cost of electricity generated from coal-fred power plants.
Wind energy is clean and safe (compared to NPP) energy type, and in the modern world this fact is obtaining an increasing importance. In addition, wind energy besides its inexhaustibility has a great potential. Wind energy reserves are more than one hundred times greater than the reserves of energy of all the rivers on the planet.
Because of the high manufacturability of the industry the development of wind power currently remains the prerogative of industrialized countries, which also are dependent on the import of traditional energy resources in a greater extent. So, currently, 44 percent of exploited wind power plants are in Europe, 31 percent-in Asia and 22 percent-in North America. Assessing the prospects for development of wind energy in Kazakhstan it may be said that achieving a signifcant share of wind power in total electricity production of the country is the issue of a long term. Geographical and, accordingly, climatic conditions in Kazakhstan characterized by large lowland surfaces and relatively stable wind fows are favorable for the development of wind power. According to research conducted in the territory there is a great range of areas where the average wind speed exceeds 5 m / s, which is the critical threshold for the work of wind power plant. It is important that many of them are located close to regions with high power consumption (Almaty, South Kazakhstan, West Kazakhstan and North Kazakhstan). But this is all about a theoretical point of view. In practice, there are several problems that prevent the development of wind energy at suffcient measure from the industrial point of view, and not only in Kazakhstan but also worldwide. The main one - impermanence of electricity generation. Even with average annual wind speed of 5 m / s situations with the failure of electricity generation in the absence or insuffcient wind velocity are unavoidable.
And as electricity has a global technological problem - impossibility of its accumulating in suffcient quantities, the energy failures must be either regulated or compensated in a timely manner. This aspect is extremely important for industrial companies, whose share of energy consumption in Kazakhstan is almost 70%, and they cannot build a production cycle, focusing on the weather forecast.
There are created complex systems aimed at the balance between production and consumption of energy in Western countries, where the proportion of wind power is substantial. Naturally, this leads to increase in the cost of production and distribution of wind energy. In addition, such systems are effective, if only the proportion of wind energy in the total amount does not exceed 10-15%.Keeping this in mind, without additional risks for the energy system Kazakhstan theoretically could build wind power plants with total capacity up to 2 thousand MW, but no more. Another way - the creation of reserve capacities. That is to say that, in fact, each wind power plant requires the creation of duplicate plant running on traditional energy sources. And given the fact that the coeffcient of wind generator inactivity is estimated to exceed 50%, half of the time the duplicate station is to be run. The question arises as how much it is expedient to build and subsist two power plants instead of one? This can be justifed when the cost of natural energy resources (coal, gas, oil) is high and savings from the use of wind power are essential. In Kazakhstan, which is rich for natural energy resources, such savings are unlikely to be possible. That is, for example, if you compare the costs associated with the burning of coal and the costs associated with the construction of wind power plant with the free use of wind -the beneft is for coal.
The cost of electricity production also is in favor of the economic feasibility of development of thermal power plants in Kazakhstan. So, according to some estimates, the cost of wind energy in Kazakhstan by optimistic forecasts may reach 10 tg / kW. While the cost of electricity generated by Ekibastuz hydro power plant - 3.6 n / kW-hr, and purchased in Kyrgyzstan - 4.2 tg / kW. Peculiar competitor to the development of wind power plants are nuclear power plants. For the development of a full nuclear industry Kazakhstan possessing the world's second largest reserves of natural uranium needs to develop nuclear power as an additional source of demand for mined uranium. In this respect, Kazakhstan is taking more concrete and specifc steps. Besides, the cost of nuclear electricity is much lower than wind power costs, not to mention other benefts. We see that there are no economic benefts of using the wind power. Nevertheless, Kazakhstan is trying to enter the global mainstream on development of alternative energy sources. It is necessary from the perspective point of view. No one doubts the fact that in long term energy will continue to move away from traditional fuels. However, for the present, the development of wind energy is impossible without state support. This is the path followed by all the developed countries where the use of wind energy is directly stimulated by the state, with both economic and administrative methods. Kazakhstan has just outlined its steps in the same direction. For example, in 2009 a law "On supporting the use of renewable energy sources" was passed. In accordance with the approved program on development of electric power, the share of using the renewable energy sources in total energy consumption will be more than 1.0% in 2014. Given that the total production capacity of electricity in Kazakhstan makes up 19 thousand MW, wind power production could reach 190 MW, which is a capacity of one wind power plant. As a result, we can say that the development of wind energy in Kazakhstan in the near term will depend entirely on government support. But even in a positive development scenario, it will be only of experimental character, which in itself is a signifcant progress, contributing, at least, to accumulation of learning and technology. For the present time there are no real commercially reasonable preconditions for large-scale commercial development of wind power.