Mubadala’s green investment arm, Masdar, is pushing into frontier markets in the Commonwealth of Independent States to develop their massive clean energy potential.

Masdar has active investments in over 30 countries and nearly US$20 billion deployed in global projects, including wind and solar. The clean energy investor focused on Ukraine and Central Asia this month where it hopes to strike in-roads into markets where renewable energy is a small but fast-growing part of their energy mix.

This week, the Abu Dhabi investor signed a strategic agreement with Kazakhstan’s sovereign wealth fund Samruk-Kaznya to explore joint initiatives in renewables. Oil-rich Kazakhstan aims to raise the share of renewables in electricity generation from 1% in 2020 to 10% by 2030 and 50% by 2050.

Kazakhstan is rich in wind and solar power potential. The wind potential of Kazakhstan is estimated by the UN at 1.8trn kWh per year, close to 10 times Kazakhstan's current energy consumption, while it has 2,200 to 3,000 hours of annual sunshine with a total potential capacity of roughly 1,300-1,800kW/sq m per year. 

During the signing ceremony, Akhmetzhan Yessimov, CEO of Samruk-Kazyna, said: “Samruk-Kazyna JSC is going through the process of transformation into an investment holding. We are striving towards Mubadala’s operational model. This also applies to international investments.” 

Elsewhere in the region, Masdar achieved financial close of the 100MW Nur Navoi Solar Project, Uzbekistan’s first independent solar power project, in December. It had also signed an agreement to develop a 500MW wind farm project with operations beginning by end-2024.

Earlier this month, in the former Soviet republic of Ukraine, where conflict has scarred the country’s economy,  Masdar signed a deal with DTEK, Ukraine’s largest private power producer, to examine potential clean energy investments. Ukraine aims to increase its share of renewables to 25% by 2035. DTEK Renewables is likely to lead the drive as the largest investor in green energy in Ukraine, with a portfolio of 1GW of solar and wind capacities already under its belt.

Ukraine has wind energy potential is estimated at 30,000GW with over half the land area suitable for wind farms. Solar energy is also driving growth, assisted by feed-in tariffs. Hydropower currently provides 7% of power generation, supported by state-led investment.