Kazakhstan, a country with extensive oil and natural gas reserves, will hold an international exposition on sustainable energy in 2017. Expo 2017 - “Energy for the Future” is one of the international expositions regulated by the International Exhibitions Bureau. Astana, Kazakhstan's capital, bested Liege, Belgium in the 2012 bid to hold Expo 2017. Each city proposed an exposition theme; Astana's was “Future Energy,” while Liege's was “Connecting the World, Linking People, Better Living Together.”
Expo 2017 will run from June 10th to September 10th 2017, and is expected to bring nearly five million visitors to this somewhat remote Central Asian country.
Expo 2017 visitors will be able to take in this great view of the Presidential Palace
Acutely aware that natural resource extraction propels Kazakhstan's economy, and wary of the so-called “natural resource curse” that has plagued similar economies, the Kazakh government is committed to the research and development of sustainable sources of energy. Pavlodar region leads the country in renewable energy generation; the Center for Energy Supply at Sultanmakhmut Toraigyrov Pavlodar State University has four wind generators and ten solar panels. With plans for Expo 2017 well underway, in May the government announced its intention to increase its investment in renewable power generation. Kazakhstan's ambitions in this respect outpace its capabilities, but its efforts are laudable.
Kazakhstan is committed to the research and development of renewable resources
Specific plans for Expo 2017 include:
A “Green Quarter.” The 113 hectare exposition site is to run exclusively on renewable energy. This year, construction will begin on the Yereymentau Wind Power Station, which will generate electricity for the site. Exhibitioners are expected to outfit their pavilions with solar panels to provide supplemental power;
Sustainable transit to shuttle attendees. A pedicab system is expected to be launched in 2014. The Akim (mayor) of Astana announced the development of a light-rail system and a bus rapid transit (BRT) system in February 2013;
An Expo 2017 special economic zone to entice private investors. The Abu Dhabi Plaza, constructed by Aldar Properties P.J.S.C., in the Expo 2017 zone, is expected to be completed in 2016. The energy efficient, mixed-use complex will be the tallest building in Central Asia;
After the exposition, repurposed facilities might become science laboratories and research institutes.
Astana awaits Expo 2017 visitors
Credits: Photographs by Sunny Menozzi. Information and data cited through links.