Energetics Publication Date 11-10-2020

Nurmagambetov Zhandos Demesinovich

Managing Director for Strategy and Development of KEGOC JSC

- Zhandos Demesinovich, what 3-5 key events have recently taken place in the energy sector, which greatly influenced it?

- First, I would like to note that in 2015 the "Plan of the nation - 100 concrete steps" program was adopted. This is an administrative decision that launched reforms in the electricity market in Kazakhstan and we are now implementing these reforms.

In particular, the 50th step is the introduction of the “single buyer” model, which implies equal energy prices for consumers in industrial regions, as well as centralized purchase of electricity through the most competitive purchase mechanism.

Secondly, in recent years there has been a crisis in the country, and the government is very responsible for tariffs, this is the second vector of development of the state's economic policy, which restrains the rise in prices. All consumers, all market participants from this receive less money for modernization and investment. This is an important event, which so far has a negative impact on the industry for the past 5 years, but has a positive effect on the economy.

On the one hand, we are modernizing, on the other hand, there is containment. That is, companies receive less money, and accordingly, the industry is not additionally invested.

The third is the adoption of the law "On supporting the use of renewable energy sources." In Kazakhstan, the structure of the energy sector has begun to change, renewable energy sources are rapidly developing and demonstrating high economic indicators.

- In your opinion, in what part of the energy technological chain is an innovative breakthrough expected?

- I believe that the consumption sector is more susceptible to reforms, as well as the generation sector and to a lesser extent the transmission sector. The transmission sector has a fairly well-developed electricity grid infrastructure in Kazakhstan. In the generation sector, we use technology that was laid back in Soviet times, and it is morally outdated. Currently, alternative energy is actively developing: solar and wind. In terms of price, the alternative is already comparable to traditional coal-fired energy. Therefore, the future clearly belongs to alternative energy.

However, it should be remembered that in Kazakhstan we will not be able to completely switch to alternative energy sources, since they generate only electrical energy, and we also need heat. We live in conditions when we need a lot of heat energy in winter, and this is a serious argument in favor of the fact that traditional CHP plants will not be abolished in the near future.

- Is there a possibility that the structure of energy consumption will change in the next 10 years?

- First of all, we forecast an increase in electricity consumption among the population in cities. This is due to the fact that the population is increasingly using household appliances, gadgets, computers, etc. I would like to note that we have not seen a decrease in energy consumption by the population over the past 20 years.

A new segment is also emerging that consumes a significant amount of electrical energy: data management, the so-called "processing centers", farmers, mining. We see their growth, their contribution to consumption will only grow. However, this type of consumer is very much tied to the price of the virtual currency. If the rate, for example, bitcoin, falls slightly, then consumption immediately stops, because to generate this currency becomes economically unfeasible.

- Due to these transformations in the energy market, what kind of specialists will be in demand in the near future?

- First of all, it is digital energy management and cybersecurity. In my opinion, a shortage of specialists should be expected in these sectors.

- How do you predict what major events will take place in the energy sector in the next 10 years?

- I have very high expectations for hydrogen. If the whole world uses hydrogen for energy storage, I believe that this will be a key turn in the industry. Research on the use of hydrogen is currently underway. The use of hydrogen as an energy storage device will create an opportunity for Kazakhstan to increase the autonomy of its own energy system. At present, in order to achieve an energy balance, we are forced to transfer excess capacity to Russia and the countries of Central Asia and receive energy from there in the event of a shortage in our country. If hydrogen storage technology is used, it will be economically viable and widely available. It is a matter of time, this technology will come to Kazakhstan and we should focus on it today.

- If you were provided with significant investment funds, what technologies did you invest in?

- If we talk about our company, then we would now invest in "green energy", definitely. That is, in energy storage systems, in the way of generation based on hydropower.

Kazakhstan has a fairly large potential for small hydropower. By developing this direction, we will not only provide Kazakhstan with cheap energy, but also help our agriculture. This will improve water conservation and improve land reclamation.

- Please tell me, for what qualities are specialists in the energy sector selected now?

- I don't have a definite answer to this question. Nowadays, we often observe that specialists who are very poorly versed in the basics of energy come to us for interviews. Unfortunately, these are all flaws in our modern Kazakhstani education. Therefore, at present, when recruiting specialists, I try to note in employees flexibility and willingness to change, good knowledge of information and communication technologies, knowledge of languages. If a candidate has these qualities, then we will quickly teach him and complete his education, because many of the problems we are solving now are not standard and require quick adaptation and restructuring on the part of candidates.