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After the COP21, Astana 2017

In June 2017, next international exhibition – Astana 2017 Future Energy – will take place in Kazakhstan (June 10 - September 10). Following the United Nation Conference on Climate Change COP21, this gathering devoted to renewable energies challenges will set new milestones for the energy transition. Rapil Zhoshybayev (Principal Exhibition Commissar) explained that recent scientific discoveries related to sustainable energy models, as well as low carbon emissions technologies, will be presented. Copping with the growth of energy demand, but also mitigating global warming, will require a global approach in which Kazakhstan commits to be an active stakeholder.

An innovative Energy vision in the heart of the steppes

Kazakhstan is hydrocarbon rich and ranks 2nd for worldwide uranium reserves. The exhibition will take place in the ultra-connected and smart city of Astana. More that 5 million people, 100 countries, 15 international organizations (AIE, OCDE, UNESCO, ONU, UNDP, OSCE, etc.) are expected. According to forecasts, the majority of foreign visitors will come from Russia and China, neighboring states. The Netherlands currently the biggest direct foreign investors with 60 million USD in 2015 will explain the Dutch energy transition policy. Scandinavian countries will expose their roadmap to a low-carbon economy by 2050. France will also hold a central role represented by its commissar Pascal Lorot and hosted in one of largest building (1083 m2) across the 174 hectares of the exhibition area. It will share this building with the United Arab Emirates, Brazil and Argentina.

The exhibition Astana 2017 fosters clear ambitions for a “green economy”. In 1991 President Nazarbayev closed the Semipalatinsk nuclear tests polygon; the rupture of the new independent State with “all-nuclear” was confirmed. The vision toward “Future Energy” is of the same scale: it is relies on the advent of a new carbon cycle.

Its 3 subtopics are as follows:

• CO2 emissions reduction

The environmental challenge: introducing a new carbon cycle through technology innovations and new norms.

• Energy efficiency

The economic challenge: promoting efficiency and rational use of energy.

• Access to energy

The social challenge: making the access to energy a “human basic need and right”.

Four dedicated building will house thematic for “Future Energy “and display key objects:

- Energy world will study the energy globally, as well as the different sustainable solutions.

- Energy for life will illustrate the concept of energy economy and energy efficiency.

- Energy for All will describe the access to energy for all the planet population and the geopolitical challenges of the energy market.

- My Energy Future will define the individual responsibilities for an effective use of energy.

Reaching targets defined by the COP21 in Astana

In his appeal on September, 30, 2016, Laurent Fabius encouraged governments who signed the Paris Agreement, to start applying it without further delay. Astana 2017 will be an accelerator. Starting in 2014, a series of 3 international conferences has been set-up, in order to define the exhibition drivers. I attended the 2015 Future Energy Forum (FEF) studying the hypothesis to get the expected results from the “new cyclotron road”, as stated by Ramamoorthy Ramesh (Associated Director at the Berkeley University) in his speech – How can we facilitate a Sustainable Future Energy? This cycle Co-organized by the Nazarbayev University and Astana EXPO – 2017 Kazakh Company organizing the exhibition brought together a wide range of experts, scientists, economists, decision makers, politics, industrials, but also Nobel Prize winners. Cross fertilization made it possible to identify powerful levers for innovation and growth of “low carbon technologies”.

I asked scientist R. Ramesh about the energy mix. He answered that a better balance between renewable and fossils energies needs to be applied by 2050. The sustainable solution will have to combine bio-fuel, artificial photosynthesis, nuclear, photovoltaic, biomass, wind, geothermic, CO2 captures and energy storage. According to the Berkeley Laboratory of energy technologies, the current production of 140 Pwh of annual energy produces 8.5 gigatonnes of CO2, whereas the durable cycle aims at 400 Pwh a year for only 3 carbon gigatonnes. Maria Van Der Hoeven, (Former Director of the International Energy Agency) presented the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate research. The energy transformation will have to integrate the latent efficiency gains from building energetic performance (HQE). The conclusions from these forums will lead to several best practices.

A dedicated exhibition area will be set-up and particularly for the electricity increasing demand. The best technology and strategic innovations, the synergistic and integrated systems will occupy this space: new generations photovoltaic panels, innovative chemical batteries, PV and energy storage, information technologies for energy regulation, predictive software, sensors, automation, etc. All these themes will contribute to mitigating global climate warming.

At the conclusion of COP21, France was given the responsibility to work out the climatic stresses tests scenarios. Astana 2017 will be the place for confrontation and calibration of all the new technologies lined up to carry the sustainable energy model. Indeed, with its central location in the international exhibition’s buildings, the giant sphere’s shape of the Museum of the Future stands as a symbol of the global energy challenges ahead of us. Kazakhstan following its own trajectory opens up the avenue towards a universal and smart “Future Energy”.

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