The EXPO 2017 is going to be a global event given visitor numbers and its economic and international influence. Initiated by President Nazarbayev, Kazakhstan’s bid to host the 2017 EXPO at the 2012 General Assembly of the International Exhibitions Bureau (BIE) was announced as the winning bid, supported by 103 countries. Kazakhstan is the first member of the CIS, and the first country in Central Asia, to host EXPO.
EXPO 2017, with the theme Future Energy, will run from 10 June to 10 September 2017 in the capital city, Astana. Around 100 countries are expected to take part, and at least two million visitors expected during the three months of the event.
The Astana EXPO will showcase the best energy-saving technologies in the world, new developments, and innovation in production from existing alternative energy [hyperlink: green Kazakhstan] sources such as solar, wind, marine, ocean and thermal waters.
The event will also provoke much debate about the future of humanity and our environment, since energy is so much at the heart of our species’ development. Discovering how to make fire – creating energy from raw materials around us – was one of the critical points of human development that separated us from all other species on the Earth, and was the ‘big bang’ moment of technological development for Homo sapiens.
The Future Energy event sets specific goals – to explore strategies, programmes and technologies aimed at the development of sustainable energy sources, improving the reliability and efficiency of energy supply, to promote the use of renewable energy sources and to show everyone the need for their active participation in the project to save energy and learn new ways to use valuable energy resources.
For Kazakhstan, Expo 2017 will give a powerful impetus to economic diversification, technological upgrading of production facilities, and the scientific base of the country.
Kazakhstan is one of the richest nations in terms of energy-producing raw materials, and much of its recent history has been created on the back of energy production, directly and indirectly. In the 21st century, however, one of the great challenges facing humanity is the safety of our environment, our own health and that of the species that share the planet, and to reconcile those pressing needs with social and economic development. Kazakhstan is fully aware of the imperative to find new ways of powering the human race, which mean lessening dependence on hydrocarbons and precious earth resources, so the race towards Future Energy has as high a priority here as anywhere.
EXPO 2017 will bring swarms of visitors from different cultures all over the world to Astana; each country taking part will create a unique pavilion that expresses its national identity and culture, which will showcase the very best of its vision and achievement.
The creation, management and aftermath of EXPO 2017 gives a massive range of opportunities forsmall and medium sized businesses, with the event attracting significant investment and opening up huge potential for innovative enterprise.
Alongside the commercial, scientific and technological exhibits, however, is the entertainment. Theatre, music, art, food, design, philosophy, sport – every day will bring hundreds of shows, displays, demonstrations and interactive events to enthuse and entrance visitors. And, of course, there will be plenty of retail therapy available.
If anyone can find a way to harness the energy produced by the enthusiasm and excitement of visitors and exhibitors, the human-kilowatts might power EXPO for several years…
Hyperlink: Green Kazakhstan
Once EXPO 2017 ends, the work will continue. Work is now proceeding to prepare for the establishment, on the premises of EXPO, of an international centre for the development of green technologies and investment projects under the auspices of the UN, as proposed by President Nazarbayev in September 2015.
At Nazarbayev University, the EXPO Centre’s neighbour in Astana, a new Centre for Energy Studies will take the development of Future Energy onwards.
Already, the forecast for inward investment in the renewable energy sector is over two billion dollars by 2020; with EXPO 2017 the investment level is set to rise.
There are plans to build 13 wind plants, 14 hydroplants and four solar plants, and for the country to recycle a third of its waste to energy generation.
The largest solar power station in Kyzylorda province will be capable of generating 65 megawatt hours of electricity a year, and the first commercial wind farm in Akmola province could generate 172 million kilowatts of electricity a year, saving more than 60 milion tons of coal. Wind farms – because of the geography of the country, with its vast steppe – have the potential to produce 25 times more energy per year than Kazakhstan’s current production from hydrocarbons. Around 10-15% of the land has average wind speeds of over six meters per second, making Kazakhstan a prime candidate for wind energy. Solar energy potential is also enormous, with around 3,000 hours of sunlight per year generating a possible 2.5 billion kilowatts.
Offsetting existing energy emissions, Kazakhstan’s emissions trading system is the first in the CIS.
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