An overview of a successful weather and climate services training course in Central Asia

WEMCs mission is to promote sustainable energy for a low-carbon economy, enhance resilience of energy infrastructure and improve efficiency of energy systems. To achieve this, we facilitate the two-way sharing of information and data between the research community and the energy sector, and promote the development and adoption of meteorological and climate services. The WEMC team are skilled in hosting events that bring together organisations and stakeholders across the energy, meteorological, climate and environmental sectors. 

Considering this, WEMC are very excited to share the news from our ‘Weather and Climate Services for the Energy Sector Training Course’ for Central Asia practitioners and policymakers, in collaboration with the Kazakh-German University in Almaty (DKU), the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), the World Bank, UNECE (UNE), RSE ‘Kazhydromet’ (KHM) and the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). The training course ran for two weeks, from 21st February until 4th March 2022.  

Central Asia is endowed with abundant and diverse energy resources. However, countries in the region largely rely on carbon-intensive energy sources, with an untapped renewable energy potential. Most countries in the region have likewise mandated renewable energy goals, aiming to shift away from reliance on their abundant coal and natural gas supplies for power generation. However, significant infrastructure, investment, planning, operations, policies, and governance efforts are needed to achieve these targets. The energy sector needs a variety of meteorological services to support decision-making for both day-to-day operations and for longer-term strategic planning, as weather and climate variables affect energy demand and supply. 

What did the Central Asia Training Course aim to achieve? 

At the fundamental level, the course focused on creating awareness and enhancing knowledge about the design and application of weather and climate services for the energy sector in Central Asia. Following this, the organising committee and the expert speakers concentrated on building capacity on the application of weather and climate services for net-zero energy transitions in the region in order to leverage international climate finance. The speaking sessions also aimed to showcase how climate data, such as that provided by WEMCs Teal Tool, can be used to inform smart, clean energy transitions, in the context of policy and industry. A more overarching and all-encompassing aim of the course was to foster a dialogue and partnerships between the hydrometeorological and energy communities in the region, to address major energy challenges in upcoming years. Find out more about the course here.

The training course attracted over 70 individuals from government departments, universities, and the meteorological and energy sectors. Over the two weeks, the course was full of engaging lectures and panel discussions with field experts, and practical group exercises which encouraged sharing of ideas. These engagements communicated to the participants the impacts of weather and climate variables on energy systems, and their importance in ensuring effective and efficient uptake of renewable, clean energy sources.  

How will this course contribute to the energy transition in Central Asia? 

From a survey conducted after the course, participants noted that they will use the knowledge gained from the course to seek collaborations using the tools and databases introduced. Many were also keen to share new information with colleagues, and to utilise their learnings within academic research, to promote and facilitate the transition to renewable energy sources in Central Asia.  

The group work allowed policymakers and practitioners within the meteorological and energy sectors to form professional connections and collaborate to identify potential measures and actions to address ongoing issues in the Central Asia region. Participants praised the training course as a kick-starter for collaborative work, and a way to ‘keep the conversation going’: 

“This is the first training that has become a platform for dialogue and united the energy sector, meteorological services, and even attracted the field of education, because personnel are our everything! We thank everyone: organizers and participants for the efforts and initiative of holding for the countries of Central Asia!” NHMS of the Republic of Kazakhstan 

To effectively disseminate the valuable learning points from the course, we have made all presentation slides from experts and panels accessible here.  

Concluding thoughts  

Weather and climate services are a fundamental support for the energy sector, as they build resilience to extreme weather and climate variability, anticipate and manage demand changes and also support the uptake of renewable energy. Here at WEMC, we are hopeful that the lessons learnt through sharing information and the newfound professional connections will be utilised by the energy sector in Central Asia to support decision making and long-term strategic planning.  

The key to successful Weather and Climate Services is to keep an ongoing communication with users, via the CO-CO-CO approach, to overcome the complexity of the information and the level of accuracy of the forecasts​’ – Alberto Troccoli 

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