Solar plant and coal-fired power station in Ulan Bator, Mongolia

Core area “Climate and energy, just transition” Measures to use fuels more efficiently and reduce air pollution

Mongolia has an extreme climate. There are great variations in temperature, ranging from over 40 degrees Celsius in summer to minus 50 degrees Celsius in winter. Reliable power supply and heating are vital for the people in Mongolia.

The country’s growing energy demand is primarily met through old, inefficient coal-fired power plants. However, the outdated systems are not able to meet the growing demand, which leaves Mongolia dependent on power imports.

The country's transmission and supply infrastructure is also outdated and vulnerable to failures. Especially rural areas are at risk of heating failures because of the desolate state of the heating systems. Public institutions, too, such as schools, kindergartens and hospitals can often not be properly heated in winter.

In cities, especially in the capital Ulan Bator, the population suffers from extreme levels of air pollution during the winter months. It is caused by coal-fired power stations on the one hand and, on the other hand, by a great number of people burning raw coal, wood and even waste in their stoves. The air pollution is now resulting in respiratory illnesses of epidemic proportions, which in turn is putting a strain on the country’s economy.

German activities

A suburb of the Mongolian capital Ulan Bator

A suburb of the Mongolian capital Ulan Bator

A suburb of the Mongolian capital Ulan Bator

Consequently, Germany is supporting the modernisation of power plants, substations and public distribution grids. This will increase energy efficiency while at the same time cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

The Mongolian authorities and private companies are being supported in their efforts to integrate measures to improve energy efficiency in planning and administrative processes and use public investment in an effective, transparent and gender-sensitive way.

In order to reduce air pollution and the related health risks in Ulan Bator, experts are working closely with local administrations and construction companies to refurbish and improve the energy efficiency of public buildings such as schools and kindergartens in traditional yurt settlements (known as “ger” in Mongolia). These measures include components to upskill Mongolian workers so that, in future, they will be able to carry out this kind of modernisation work on their own. The results are already visible: Sickness levels are measurably lower in schools with improved insulation than in unmodernised education facilities.

As at: 21/07/2023