Mongolian capital Ulaanbatar moves towards a Sustainable Energy System

The Intermediate report on the “Energy Master Plan of Ulaanbaatar City” study was introduced in a workshop held on 6 February 2018 in Mongolia. Some 50 stakeholders representing the Ulaanbatar City Government, relevant national and local energy sector institutions, engineering infrastructure utilities, international organisations, the banking sector and the private sector attended. 

This study was carried out by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems/ISE in Freiburg, Germany, with the kick-off and Inception report workshops introducing the objectives, expected outputs and initial fact finding held in May and September 2017. It provides a comprehensive and impartial inventory of the initial situation in relation to the energy consumption demands, the provision and the distribution of heat and electricity. It also determines the renewable energy resources available. The technologically possible options and the step-by-step establishment of a sustainable energy supply including an assessment of renewable energy sources and recommendations are included.

In his opening speech, Mr. T. Gantumur, General Manager of UB City, said that Ulaanbaatar City had incorporated the Energy Master Plan study into its action plan of UB City for 2018. The study fits well with the ‘National programme on the reduction of air and environment pollution’ adopted by the Government of Mongolia in March 2017 and the current policies and strategies of UB City to combat air pollution. For instance, it addresses such goals as the implementation of appropriate urban and infrastructure policies and strategies and the step-by-step reductions up to prohibition of raw coal consumption through the introduction of environmentally friendly and renewable energy technologies. He added that a project for the application of geothermal heat energy with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) would soon be implemented. 

“Ulaanbaatar City relies mostly on fossil fuel energy supply and faces a lot of challenges in combating air pollution and transforming the current energy system. These are, among others, cheap coal prices, the low income of the population, insufficient technical know-how and the high percentage of informal housing structures. However, there is no alternative, if one is aiming to achieve a broad and tangible impact”, said Dr. Christian Glass, First Secretary at the German Embassy. “The study will play an important role in identifying possible solutions,” he added, and called for integrated solutions and joint efforts through the involvement of international donor organisations.

Mr. Gerhard Stryi-Hipp, leader of the research group at the Fraunhofer ISE, presented the Intermediate Report, which included an overview of the current and future energy demands and assumptions until 2050. The generic energy system structure and available renewable energy sources around Ulaanbaatar City were also presented as were the first recommendations for the step-by-step establishment of a sustainable energy system relying mostly on renewable energy sources. Making reference to the possibility of the application of solar and wind energies in UB City, he stressed that these renewable energies don’t complement each other especially during the winter period and thus some technical solutions have been proposed. 

Mr. Stryi-Hipp’s recommended an immediate start to the installation of PV (photovoltaic) panels in ger districts and on rooftops. Another immediate measure to be undertaken was the thermal insulation of existing buildings in the ger districts as well as in the formal parts of the city. In particular, new buildings should be built in such a way that they save energy and heat losses. The existing standard on energy efficiency of buildings might require revision. 

The final version of the study with more concrete proposals including cost estimates will be ready by May 2018. 

The “Energy Master Plan of Ulaanbaatar City” study is being conducted in the framework of the GIZ “Integrated Resource Management in Asian Cities: Urban Nexus” project financed by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented jointly with Ulaanbaatar City.

 

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