• 1 min London Stock Exchange Boss Defends Push To Win Aramco IPO
  • 1 hour Rosneft Signs $400M Deal With Kurdistan
  • 4 hours Kinder Morgan Warns About Trans Mountain Delays
  • 10 hours India, China, U.S., Complain Of Venezuelan Crude Oil Quality Issues
  • 15 hours Kurdish Kirkuk-Ceyhan Crude Oil Flows Plunge To 225,000 Bpd
  • 19 hours Russia, Saudis Team Up To Boost Fracking Tech
  • 1 day Conflicting News Spurs Doubt On Aramco IPO
  • 1 day Exxon Starts Production At New Refinery In Texas
  • 1 day Iraq Asks BP To Redevelop Kirkuk Oil Fields
  • 2 days Oil Prices Rise After U.S. API Reports Strong Crude Inventory Draw
  • 2 days Oil Gains Spur Growth In Canada’s Oil Cities
  • 2 days China To Take 5% Of Rosneft’s Output In New Deal
  • 2 days UAE Oil Giant Seeks Partnership For Possible IPO
  • 2 days Planting Trees Could Cut Emissions As Much As Quitting Oil
  • 2 days VW Fails To Secure Critical Commodity For EVs
  • 2 days Enbridge Pipeline Expansion Finally Approved
  • 2 days Iraqi Forces Seize Control Of North Oil Co Fields In Kirkuk
  • 2 days OPEC Oil Deal Compliance Falls To 86%
  • 3 days U.S. Oil Production To Increase in November As Rig Count Falls
  • 3 days Gazprom Neft Unhappy With OPEC-Russia Production Cut Deal
  • 3 days Disputed Venezuelan Vote Could Lead To More Sanctions, Clashes
  • 3 days EU Urges U.S. Congress To Protect Iran Nuclear Deal
  • 3 days Oil Rig Explosion In Louisiana Leaves 7 Injured, 1 Still Missing
  • 3 days Aramco Says No Plans To Shelve IPO
  • 6 days Trump Passes Iran Nuclear Deal Back to Congress
  • 6 days Texas Shutters More Coal-Fired Plants
  • 6 days Oil Trading Firm Expects Unprecedented U.S. Crude Exports
  • 6 days UK’s FCA Met With Aramco Prior To Proposing Listing Rule Change
  • 6 days Chevron Quits Australian Deepwater Oil Exploration
  • 6 days Europe Braces For End Of Iran Nuclear Deal
  • 7 days Renewable Energy Startup Powering Native American Protest Camp
  • 7 days Husky Energy Set To Restart Pipeline
  • 7 days Russia, Morocco Sign String Of Energy And Military Deals
  • 7 days Norway Looks To Cut Some Of Its Generous Tax Breaks For EVs
  • 7 days China Set To Continue Crude Oil Buying Spree, IEA Says
  • 7 days India Needs Help To Boost Oil Production
  • 7 days Shell Buys One Of Europe’s Largest EV Charging Networks
  • 7 days Oil Throwback: BP Is Bringing Back The Amoco Brand
  • 7 days Libyan Oil Output Covers 25% Of 2017 Budget Needs
  • 7 days District Judge Rules Dakota Access Can Continue Operating
Alt Text

The Two Nations Leading The Wind Power Race

UK and China have joined…

Alt Text

Can Deep Water Wind Farms Power The World?

A recent study suggests that…

Alt Text

Tesla’s New Frontier: Batteries And Wind

Electric car builder Tesla and…



EurasiaNet.org provides information and analysis about political, economic, environmental and social developments in the countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus, as well as in…

More Info

Despite Limitless Supplies of Coal – Mongolia Looks to Wind Energy

Despite Limitless Supplies of Coal – Mongolia Looks to Wind Energy

Despite Mongolia’s nearly limitless supplies of coal, Ulaanbaatar recently approved plans to set up the country’s first commercial wind farm. The decision is fueling a public debate that aims to strike the right balance between Mongolia’s near-term and long-term economic development interests.

Sparsely inhabited, with vast steppes and ample wind, Mongolia’s potential for harnessing renewable energy is huge, proponents say. In 2005, the government passed the Renewable Energy Program, mandating that green energy sources account for 20-25 percent of Mongolia’s needs by 2020. Renewable energy is nothing new for Mongolians: It is common to see a remote nomad’s ger – a traditional felt home – fitted with solar panels and windmills powering satellite receivers.

“This is a very ambitious target, but achievable with large scale wind farms and solar power plants,” says Namjil Enebish, Executive Director of the National Renewable Energy Center. Approximately 2 percent of the country’s power needs are currently met with household solar systems and small hydro-electricity projects. The wind farm could significantly boost this figure, he told EurasiaNet.org.

Newcom Group, the country’s largest Mongolian-owned private mobile telecom provider, is helping finance the $80-million joint venture with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The project is to be situated on Salkhit Mountain, 78 kilometers south of Ulaanbaatar. Newcom has already signed a power-purchase agreement with the government for the proposed 50-megawatt project. Construction is slated to start in early 2011.

“Extensive wind mapping data has shown Mongolia has the wind capacity to generate enough electricity to supply all of China’s electric needs,” says Bayanjargal Byambasaikhan, head of the Clean Energy Division of Newcom Group, stressing wind’s vast potential. The cost has decreased rapidly in recent years, making wind harvesting the most suitable renewable energy for commercial operation in Mongolia, he said.

But it is still more expensive than coal, critics contend. And coal is a much better bet to bring in much-needed revenue in the coming year and meet the country’s power needs, they emphasize.

With estimated reserves of 150 billion tons, according to the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy, the country is experiencing a coal rush. Exports to China could increase from 7 million tons in 2009 to 30-50 million tons by 2015, said Alexander Molyneux, CEO of South Gobi Resources, one of largest foreign coal miners in Mongolia, at the Discover Mongolia Mining investor's forum in September.

Mining experts believe the need to exploit Mongolia’s coal resources to generate near-term revenue outweighs the need to focus on expensive renewable energy solutions. “It will be extremely difficult for Mongolia to find alternative energy sources which can come even remotely close to competing with coal as a primary energy source for many years to come,” contends Graeme Hancock, senior mining specialist at the World Bank.

Apart from the higher investment costs, wind power is unable to provide nearly enough power to heat homes during Mongolia’s bitterly cold winters when total heat demand from the country’s Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Plants exceeds the level of electricity production. “Cost-wise, coal wins clearly, both in capital and operating terms,” he says.

Stakeholders in the Salkhit Wind Farm are under no illusion that renewable resources will replace coal any time soon. “Of course if you’re sitting on the largest untapped coal deposit in the world, it puts the whole renewable energy issue a little in the background,” admits EBRD resident head Philip ter Woort. But with mounting environmental problems in Mongolia, it makes sense to examine renewable options, he added. Renewable energy could help mitigate the increased CO2 emissions that the country is expected to generate with the mining boom, added ter Woort.

Most of Mongolia’s energy needs “will be supplied by coal, there’s no doubt about that. But there is incremental capacity that can be supplied by clean energy sources and that has to be developed for a more sustainable growth,” says Byambasaikhan at Newcom.

The question now is how to pay for an investment that many say is redundant in a developing country. According to Enebish of the National Renewable Energy Center, some of the capital can be generated from eco-taxes on dirty industries and channeling a portion of mining revenue towards financing renewable energy. But this remains a risky political decision for a country that has been wooing investors with a favorable low-tax climate. Bernard Guarnera of Behre Dolbear, one of the world’s largest mining advisory firms, warned against raising the tax rate at the September mining investor’s forum: “When you get too greedy, the goose goes.”

Green activists are concentrating on the big picture, however: “We’re not looking at short term goals. In other words we’re very patient,” says Byambasaikhan, who believes that regardless of present day economics, renewable energy is a key part of Mongolia’s future.

By. Pearly Jacob

Originally published by EurasiaNet.org

Back to homepage

Leave a comment

Leave a comment

Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News