USAID Partners with Kazakhstan and the Kyrgyz Republic to Launch a First-in-Region Pilot to Secure Regional and National Electricity Supplies

Speeches Shim

Tuesday, January 11, 2022
Yevgeny Didorenko, Deputy Chief of Dispatch at KEGOC
Oleg Ryaskov for USAID

An Innovative Pilot Unveils New Power Trade Opportunities in Central Asia

The power systems of Kazakhstan and the Kyrgyz Republic operate in parallel under an agreement to provide mutual services on power regulation and supply. With growing electricity consumption and the development of renewable energy, both countries are looking for innovative ways to strengthen cooperation and increase the security of clean energy supply to the national and regional energy markets.

To continue scaling up renewable potential, Kazakhstan requires additional flexible power generation, that is, electricity supply that can be quickly adjusted to balance demand and any unanticipated variability.

With its vast hydropower resources, neighboring Kyrgyz Republic is perfectly positioned to partner with Kazakhstan and trade flexible generation capacity from hydroelectric dams. This will allow for the potential gain of immense revenue and lucrative partnerships with Kazakhstan and other Central Asian partners.

To support all partners, USAID realized an opportunity to build regional cooperation and connectivity, enable Kazakhstan to develop increased volumes of renewables and help the Kyrgyz Republic make additional revenue and gain critical technical capabilities. The solution is an innovative pilot project, an automated generation control (AGC), which controls power flows in real-time and automatically compensates for fluctuations. If launched, the pilot system would reduce renewable energy impacts on the power system, support Kazakhstan’s renewable energy program, and enable regional trade of flexible capacities between Kazakhstan and the Kyrgyz Republic.

Finding Solutions to Tackle the Challenges of Renewable Energy Integration

At the beginning of 2021, the Kazakhstan Electricity Grid Operating Company (KEGOC) launched a national automated generation control pilot project. The project supports the government’s recent “Digital Kazakhstan” policy effort to build energy sector security and ensure consumers can access high-quality power supply.

Yevgeny Didorenko, Deputy Chief of Dispatch at KEGOC, was one of the first technical specialists to realize the need and value of the AGC pilot project.

“Kazakhstan is stuck; it cannot move forward on its clean energy goals without first mitigating the uncertainty of variable renewable energy,” says Didorenko.

Kazakhstan’s ACG pilot project is a viable solution to tackle the fluctuations and unpredictability inherent within renewables – and mitigate its technical costs. AGC constantly monitors the operation mode of the power system and, in case of any deviations, adjusts generation from power units connected to the system.

In the near future, Didorenko’s team plans to connect the AGC system to five thermal power plants in Kazakhstan. However, Didorenko was aware that Kazakhstan needs valuable flexible generation capabilities to truly scale up its renewable potential and attract investors. The answer was simple: establish a regional AGC pilot connecting hydropower plants in the Kyrgyz Republic to KEGOC’s AGC.

Seeking trusted partners, Didorenko reached out to USAID for support, technical guidance, and assistance to propose the project to the Kyrgyz Republic. USAID explained both the risks and the benefits of the Kyrgyz Republic participating in the AGC project. First, the pilot would enable the Kyrgyz Republic to meet its domestic demand while selling flexible generation capacities – thus gaining revenue and ensuring secure and easy access of quality electricity to its citizens. Both countries could also trade electricity to meet mutual power needs with Kyrgyzstan given additional compensation for electricity provided to Kazakhstan during daily peak hours—the most valuable time. Realizing the extensive potential benefits it stood to gain, Kyrgyz partners agreed to meet with representatives from KEGOC.

Making the AGC Pilot a Regional Reality

“Thanks to USAID, our negotiations with Kyrgyz colleagues are finally being put into practice,” Zhanibek Kuanyshbayev, Director of System Services at KEGOC.

In November 2021, USAID gathered senior technical specialists and decision-makers from KEGOC, Almaty University of Power Engineering and Telecommunications (AUPET), the Kygyz National Energy Holding Company, and the Electric Power Plants Company to discuss launching a regional AGC pilot project.

During the meeting, representatives from Kazakhstan and the Kyrgyz Republic agreed to implement the regional pilot and emphasized the need to deepen cross-border collaboration to support regional trade development and trade renewable energy.

Moving forward, USAID will support technical specialists to visit Kyrgyzstan’s Kurpsai hydropower plant and recommend technical modifications so both energy systems can increase the trade of renewable energy and ensure greater energy sector security at the national and regional levels.

“I strongly believe that the parallel operation must continue. As we discuss the AGC project, we see that the benefits of integration are obvious…the AGC system offers multiple benefits for our country and neighbors,” commented First Deputy General Director of the Electric Power Plants Company, Almaz Kushubakov.

Last updated: March 25, 2022

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