The Parliament of Kazakhstan is preparing to ratify an intergovernmental agreement with the United Arab Emirates, which provides for the implementation of joint projects totaling over $ 6 billion. The document signed during the working trip of Prime Minister Askar Mamin to the UAE raises a number of questions. In particular, according to observers, it can threaten the energy sovereignty and security of the republic.
As specified in the press service of the government of Kazakhstan, we are talking about projects in the energy, agro-industrial, transport and logistics, pharmaceutical and financial sectors of the national economy. Together, the country will build solar, wind and hydroelectric power plants with a total capacity of 5 GW.
The key and most discussed event in this entire history will be the sale to Arab investors of 49% of shares in the largest energy company in Kazakhstan, Samruk-Energo. The shares, we note, belong to the National Welfare Fund of Kazakhstan. Thus, we are talking about the cornerstone, strategic sectors of the republican economy. Samruk-Energo includes the main coal mining enterprises, thermal power plants and hydroelectric power plants, as well as sales and service assets. Independent analysts in the deal are confused by several points. This is, first of all, some kind of backstage: the essence is outlined in the most general terms, the share price is unknown, and the agreement itself is practically not discussed in the public space of Kazakhstan.
Also noteworthy is the following circumstance: the government of Askar Mamin agreed to an internal rate of return in these projects at the level of 13% in US dollars. Simply put, such a “cosmic” benefit will allow investors to go to zero by the time the projects are implemented. They plan to ensure such profitability by increasing the selling price of electricity.
In the opinion of the ex-candidate for the presidency of Kazakhstan Amirzhan Kosanov, whose commentary is quoted by BFM.ru, “probably, we are talking about some kind of agreements between specific clans that are in the power of Kazakhstan with the Arab world.” When national assets are transferred to the ownership of another state, society should know thoroughly about this, the politician argues. In addition, Kosanov notes, Kazakhstan has its own funds (for example, the same Pension Fund, which accumulates $ 30 billion), its own business and its own capital, which could participate in this process. It turns out that the people of Kazakhstan were cut off, cut off from a critical event related to national security.
We add that the security of the state is implemented in several interrelated forms – this is the defense sector, and the food industry, and the energy sector. And if the authorities lose control over some component of this multifaceted complex, the whole structure is under threat. By the way, the global trend is as follows: national assets are sacred and must be accumulated within the country. An example is Électricité de France, the largest power generation company in France and the world’s largest nuclear power plant operator. 85% of its shares are owned by the state.
In addition, the very idea of a partnership with the Emirates in the field of renewable energy looks strange. This Arab country is not among the world’s green energy leaders.
There is a special quantity called ICUM (installed capacity utilization factor). So, the highest ICUF value for nuclear power plants is 0.85-0.92. In windmills, it does not exceed 0.4, with a regular drop to 0.25. Solar stations have 0.15. Simply put, their efficiency and margins are low, and their effective lifespan and, most importantly, payback is on average 20-25 years. Accordingly, after some time, this entire infrastructure will become hopelessly outdated and out of order.