A new report published by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has identified concrete actions that could help the Kyrgyz Republic reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 44% by 2030 and to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 – including an increase in hydropower development.

The ‘Renewables Readiness Assessment: The Kyrgyz Republic’, developed by the Ministry by Energy of the Kyrgyz Republic with the support of IRENA, recognises that renewables – primarily hydropower – will be the driver of zero-carbon policies, given their enormous potential in the country. It aims to further support the country on this path towards the sustainable development of the energy sector through increased deployment of reliable and cost-effective renewable energy solutions.

“Kyrgyzstan, like many countries in Central Asia and around the world, is striving to overcome the enduring challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera. “As efforts to secure a comprehensive socio-economic recovery continue, there is a need to focus on far-reaching measures that can help build a more resilient and diversified economy, improve the energy sector’s viability, attract investments in clean energy projects and propel the country towards its climate goals.”

“This renewables readiness assessment represents an important step toward establishing a secure, modern, diversified and clean energy system,” added H.E. Mr. Sultanbekov Sabyrbek, Vice-Minister of Energy of the Kyrgyz Republic. “New renewables technologies are able to provide competitive energy supply, while reducing negative impacts on the environment and human health, bringing opportunities for universal access to modern energy sources.”

Kyrgyzstan is among the most energy-intensive countries in the world, leading to recurring energy shortages and reducing economic productivity and competitiveness. While large hydropower is set to retain its role as the backbone of the power sector, the introduction of other renewables such as solar photovoltaic (PV), wind and bioenergy provide a reliable solution to rising energy demand and various social, economic and environmental benefits, according to the report.

The report proposes 12 key actions to accelerate renewable energy adoption in the country. The recommendations point to tariff reforms in the energy sector as key to creating a level playing field, generating revenue and lowering barriers to market entry for renewable energy projects. The report also highlights the need to implement auctions to attract investments to large-scale hydropower, solar and wind projects.

When it comes to unlocking the small-scale renewable energy market segment, the report recommends net metering, wheeling and other distributed generation policies. It also underscores policies that can promote the decarbonisation of end-uses through renewables-based electrification of heating and transport.