Azerbaijan can get dividends for electricity transmission

By Aynur Karimova

Azerbaijan as a transit country can get dividends for transmission of electricity, country's Energy Ministry believes.

Zamina Aliyeva, the spokesperson of the ministry, told Azernews that linking the electricity systems of Azerbaijan, Iran and Russia will enable Baku to carry out electricity export-import operations.

"Azerbaijan will strengthen its position as a transit country and exporter of electricity," she said commenting on prospects of establishing the Russia-Azerbaijan-Iran electricity corridor.

On February 21, Iran has again expressed interest in linking the electricity networks with Azerbaijan and Russia.

The Islamic Republic's Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian said at a meeting with Azerbaijan's Economy and Industry Minister Shahin Mustafayev in Tehran that all three countries will benefit from linking the electricity networks.

"The peak electricity consumption in Azerbaijan and Russia is in winter, meanwhile Iran experiences peak consumption in summer," he said adding that the sides can swap electricity for avoiding costs for construction of new power plants.

Aliyeva said that synchronization of the energy systems of the three countries was a topic of discussions for several years and this issue is currently at the stage of negotiations.

"The reality is that linking the electricity systems of the three countries was the initiative of Russia and Iran, but no real actions have been taken by these countries yet," she stressed adding that several issues in this regard remain unresolved.

In particular, the protocol of the 45th meeting of the CIS held in Baku on April 25, 2014 to discuss the ways of linking the energy systems of Azerbaijan, Russia and Iran, was signed by Azerbaijan, but Iran has not yet put its signature under the document.

During this meeting it was decided to develop the draft of the feasibility study of expediency of connecting the energy systems of the three countries. However, Russia has not yet developed such a feasibility study.

Despite that Russia was empowered to develop a draft agreement on joint study of expediency of the electricity network, Moscow has not implemented this task.

"That is the current state of affairs in this regard," Aliyeva noted. "Azerbaijan's energy system is technically ready to be linked with the Iranian and Russian energy systems. Azerbaijan enjoys the relevant infrastructure for transmission of electricity. To this end, all the necessary powerful production facilities are available both for the Darband-Yashma and Imishli-Parsabad power transmission lines. Baku also enjoys an experience of working with the Russian energy system in a parallel regime, as there was a unified [energy] system in the Soviet period."

In November 2015, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak confirmed the interest in linking the energy systems with Azerbaijan and Iran.

“We also confirm the interest in continuing to examine the issue of linking the energy systems of Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan, and we consider it reasonable to resume the tripartite working group,” Novak said.

In response, Azerbaijan confirmed the interest and readiness for resuming the meetings as part of the tripartite working group.

Azerbaijan's Energy Minister Natig Aliyev told journalists in February 2016 that Azerbaijan, Iran and Russia are working to create the North-South energy corridor among the three neighbor countries.

He said the removal of the international sanctions from Iran will play a significant role in the development of Baku's relations with Tehran.

"The North-South corridor is being established not only in the transport, but also in the energy sector. It envisages the export of electricity from Russia to Azerbaijan and further to Iran. A special working group has been established. The energy ministers of three countries are working on this issue," he said.

Azerbaijan's electricity production capacities also allow the country to be an electricity exporter. Aliyeva told Azernews that as a result of taken measures, the capacity of Azerbaijan's energy system has reached 7,129 MW, thus, paving the way to ensure the energy security of the South Caucasus nation, as well as become an electricity exporter.

"In 2015, Azerbaijan produced some 24.7 million kilowatt / hours of electricity, while the country's electricity consumption amounted to 19.7 million kilowatt / hours," she said. "Azerbaijan, which managed to ensure its energy security, exported some 260.6 million kilowatt / hours of electricity, while imported some 107.4 million kilowatt / hours in 2015, thus, achieving current electricity export potential of 6 billion kilowatt / hours."

The Energy Ministry plans to commission new facilities with a capacity of 2,800 MW by 2020.

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Aynur Karimova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Aynur_Karimova

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