Aset Nauryzbayev: Gas price will be growing for Almaty inhabitants

Almaty. July 9. KazTAG - Valentina Vladimirskaya. The state-owned companies have already set the task to transfer Almaty HPS-2 into gas, but “things are still there”. Coal is still  transported from distant areas to Almaty to turn it into smog and electricity that the city does not need. Well-known economist, former head of KEGOK, Aset Nauryzbayev told KazTAG how much it will cost to get rid of smog produced by the station in Almaty.

- Aset, Almaty air is polluted by cars and the heating power plant. How does the HPS affect the air?

- The station emits harmful substances: fine particles, oxides of sulfur, nitrogen, carbon monoxide. There are different data on emissions, but the volume makes approximately 33 thousand tons per year. The main component of cars emissions is carbon monoxide.

- What does your group offer to clear the air in the city?

- There are two scenarios for the HPS.

The first is to transfer the station into gas, Nazarbayev one day assigned Samruk-Energy to prepare for this, but it did not happen.

The second scenario is to leave coal as fuel, but to build a flue gas cleaning station.

- What are the “pros and cons” of each option?

- Both solutions are not cheap. The conversion of the existing station to gas, according to the Institute KazNIPIEnergoprom, costs $ 65 million, and the construction of the coal treatment plant costs about $ 200 million.

It is important what kind of fuel will be supplied to the station, as if you count in current prices, kilowatt-hour of energy contained in gas is 2.6 times more expensive than kilowatt-hour of energy contained in coal. Therefore, as soon as we transfer the station to gas, immediately there is a need to raise the tariff for heating and electricity.

Citizens should clearly understand that gas as fuel is better, because even after cleaning with new filters, the amount of emissions at the coal station will exceed the amount of emissions at the gas station, but the electricity and heating tariff in case of construction of a coal station will remain unchanged , and in the case of transfer of the station to gas, the tariff will necessarily increase.

- What will be an approximate tariff?

- It’s impossible to say exactly how much the tariff will increase. This is a question of correct calculations. If you "count on your fingers," then the tariff for electricity when switching to gas will increase by more than 4 tenge. In addition, it is necessary to take into account the availability of gas for people. The gas pipeline from gas-rich Turkmenistan goes to China through Kazakhstan.

It is difficult to predict gas prices: China’s economy is growing in fast pace, and gas demand is growing rapidly. We expect that gas will be more expensive because its volume is decreasing.

- Will it be more expensive for Almaty?

- Yes, gas will be more expensive for  the Almaty residents. Kazakhstan's gas reserves are not very rich and mainly it is associated gas from the southern fields. This gas is expensive because associated gas requires many operations: it must be dried, cleaned of impurities, which increases its cost. What can we say about the fact that, as an export commodity, gas has an export price, and if Kazakhstani companies refuse to sell it for export, they must understand why they are losing their money. If this is a state-owned company, then we take out money that it could earn on exports from the state budget (the share of gas in the structure of Kazakhstan’s exports in January-April 2019 was about 5%).

- If it is so expensive to transfer into gas, isn't it better to build a new station?

- All the options for building a new station are much more expensive than upgrading an old station and, therefore, increasing the tariff. Therefore, it is impossible to talk now about the construction of a new station. The point is - to reduce  electricity generation while maintaining heat production. It will reduce the consumption of coal and, consequently, emissions of harmful substances in general.
HPP-3 is another question. Our old HPP in the village of Otegen Batyr has a small thermal load, but produces a lot of electricity — much more than it is needed for heat production.

- Does Almaty lack of electricity from the Kapshagay hydroelectric power plant?

- It is completely meaningless because, firstly, it is emissions, and secondly, this coal, which came from Ekibastuz, can be burned directly in Ekibastuz and delivered here as clean electricity. Why do we produce electricity here instead of producing it in Ekibastuz? Moreover, coal transportation makes its cost twice higher: the price of coal on the mine is about $5, its delivery to Almaty costs another $ 5.