I am sure, if you have been reading my blog, you realize that I talk about Mongolia quite often. Well, half of this can attributed to the fact that I was born and raised in Mongolia and I most certainly take pride in my heritage. The other half, is the fact that I see tremendous potential in the country’s future. Besides the more obvious opportunities in the natural resource sector, there are vast potential in other sectors of the economy. It is imperative for the economy of Mongolia to not fall under the “Dutch Curse”, an economic condition whereby the growth is mainly influenced by the natural resource sector. The economy’s over reliance on natural resources can lead to other sectors of the economy to be uncompetitive and stagnant.
Therefore, it is very important for public and the private sector to diversify their portfolio. After all, Mongolia has become ‘the fastest growing economy’ and the potential for other business development ventures, much needed urban planning and clean technology is as the Mongolians say, ‘blue as the sky’.
Here is a very intriguing interview with President of Mongolia, Elbegdorj with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.
According to Chisake Watanabe of Bloomberg,
$20 BILLION FDI INTO MONGOLIA
- SoftBank Corp, Japanese mobile phone company planning to invest $20 billion in Sprint Nextel Corp, plans to develop wind power projects in Mongolia.
- Newcom is Mongolian telecommunications company with investments in clean tech.
- This follows recent deal involving EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development), FMO (Netherlands Development Finance Company) and Mongolia.
FUTURE OF CLEAN TECH IN MONGOLIA
- Sites in the Gobi desert which may have a capacity of as much as 300 megawatts of wind power.
- Should Softbank and Newcom decide to build there, operations may start in 2014.
PLANS FOR “ASIA SUPER GRID”
- SoftBank President Masayoshi Son has been investing in renewable energy after the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
- “Asia Super Grid” plan to connect power grids from India to Tokyo to allow for stable power supply and boost the use of renewable energy in the region.
“This venture is the first step for the Asia Super Grid plan as Mongolia has the potential to become an energy supply station,”
Although ambitious, the plan for the “Asia Super Grid” could lay down the blueprint for nations to move away from polluting finite energy source to renewable energy sources.
PRECEDENCE FOR PROLIFERATION OF CLEAN TECH IN MONGOLIA
The mechanisms of the deal between ERBD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development), FMO (Netherlands Development Finance Company), Government of Mongolia and the private sector has already been set in motion. The first wind turbine generator(WTG) on Salkhit wind farm was completed on October 2nd, 2012. They expect to have 20 WTG by the end of the year. The Salkhit Windfarm shall provide for energy needs of 100,000 households and save 190,000 tons of coal and 1.6 million tons of water. It shall prevent emission of 200,000 tons of CO2. Potentially, this development effort can supply 20% of energy needs of Mongolia.
Moreover, the energy harvesting potential in the Gobi desert is vast as well.
The Gobi Desert is estimated to be the third largest potential source of solar energy in the world and also experiences steady, strong wind speeds making it ideal for both technologies. It is however, hugely isolated. Desert solar energy could be powering homes in Russia, Japan, and China under plans by Desertec and backed by the Japanese Renewable Energy Foundation
None of this will be done over night, however the potential for Mongolia to be “trailblazer” in the renewable and sustainable clean technology sector is very real.
Watanabe, C (2012, 10 23) Softbank Plans to Develop Wind Power in Mongolia with Newcom, Bloomberg. Retrieved from http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-10-24/softbank-plans-to-develop-wind-power-in-mongolia-with-newcom.html