Business & Industry

Aug 1, 2017

DEBATING THE FUTURE OF ENERGY

It is one of the worlds' major events and it doesn't happen every year. That is one of the reasons why they are so important. But there's another one: the vast debates each one of these World Fairs (known as Expos) bring to light and the main importance of the conclusions.

Where were you when… x-ray, broadcast television and video conference, mobile phones, touchscreens and Imax technologies came through, before they turn into everyday reality? Most certainly, you were at a world's fair, dealing with themes about the future, of some kind.

Since the initial Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations, in 1851, many things have changed. Nowadays, cities do better branding, and they sell for themselves as a great tourism destination. An Expo, is nothing but an add-on.

June 10, 2017, Astana, Kazakhstan: the opening of the gates towards a sustainable future. These gates will remain open until September 10, 2017, and they welcome all the ideas for mankind to think its future under a cover of sustainable energy supply, while respecting the planet and its natural resources, in order to guarantee the survival of mankind itself.

Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, is astonishing. The skyline is dotted with impressive and futuristic construction and it looks very much like Dubai. Plus, the new Expo buildings turned the city into something totally different and much more modern.

This Expo is a first in many ways. It is the first world fair that takes place in Central Asia and in the post-Soviet geopolitical and cultural space. Historically, this area has been associated with nomadic peoples and the Silk Road serving as a crossroads of people, goods and ideas between Europe and Asia. Expo 2017 is an opportunity to experience a nation that has been proactively shaping its global identity since declaring independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

It is the business centre of Kazakhstan and this ain't saying few. Kazakhstan is one of the most important exporters for diamonds, gold, oil, and one of the top five in the uranium mining producers in the world.

The expo is showing very much of what is already being done in that sector, along with some of the most recent technologies; some already available, and some in development. 

With this Expo 2017's theme, Astana is tapping into an incredible global conversation. Hosting an Expo devoted to future energy is purposely political, as it fits perfectly into President Nursultan Nazarbayev's grander vision to position the country as a key global state, a powerful economy, as well as a forward-looking convener of nations.

EXPO 2017's Future Energy theme will promote efforts to find sustainable energy solutions to meet growing global demand. Kazakhstan's choice of the topic reflects the recognition by the country's leaders and policymakers that even its vast reserves of natural energy resources are ultimately finite and that eventually the country, and the rest of the world, will have to make the transition to alternative energy sources and greener economies.

As the world deliberates on the future of the Paris climate accord, Kazakhstan might be a fitting place for collective soul-searching. Fossil fuels and minerals are the engine of Kazakhstan's economy and its earlier growth.

However, within the decade, Kazakh government has been adopting renewable energy policies, working with several international institutions to combat corruption and legal risks in the sector, introducing feed-in-tariffs in 2013 and setting ambitious yet realistic goals of making renewables account for half of its power generation by 2050.  

Discover the latest developments in renewable energy industries from wind, solar and biomass to space, sun and kinetic energy in several national and corporate pavilions, including the designated Best Practice Area that hosts 24 projects from 13 countries selected by a committee of Nobel laureates and climate experts. Among the ideas generating media buzz are Solar Impulse, a Swiss solar-powered aircraft, Glowee which is a French project to bring a biological source of light using marine microorganisms, and the Bioo device (USA) that generates electricity from garden plants' photosynthesis.

Many of these at times incredible breakthroughs have been in development for years. Some are close to commercialization. Considering the speed of innovation and technological advancement today, they could be coming to the market quite soon. 

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