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Masdar promises over half a bln kWh of electricity per year: expert [COMMENTARY]

7 November 2023 08:30 (UTC+04:00)
Masdar promises over half a bln kWh of electricity per year: expert [COMMENTARY]
Abbas Ganbay
Abbas Ganbay
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Independent Azerbaijan is experiencing a historic turning point in its economic, social, political, and cultural development. Targeted socio-economic reforms carried out in the country during the transition period have strengthened and modernized the national economy.

Over the past 17 years, Azerbaijan's economy has more than tripled on the basis of dynamic development, a powerful socio-economic infrastructure has been created, and the poverty rate has been significantly reduced against the background of positive demographic growth. Existing financial opportunities have reached a historical peak, where Azerbaijan has strengthened its position among the group of countries with above-average income.

Azerbaijan has set "National Priorities of Socio-Economic Development" for 2030 by presidential decree. Five National Priorities for the socio-economic development of the country should be realized within the next decade. We are interested in the clean environment and the country of "green growth", what this means for Azerbaijan, and what projects on them are already being prepared or ready for today.

According to an Azerbaijani expert on oil and energy Ilham Shaban, who commented for AZERNEWS, Azerbaijan's achievement is not limited to the opening of the 230 MW Garadagh Solar Power Plant with Masdar in October this year.

"The Agency for Renewable and Alternative Energy Sources of Azerbaijan was established in 2009 by order of the head of state. Since then, projects with capacities of 5, 7, 9, and 15 MW have been realized in Azerbaijan. As for the Masdar project, according to the officially announced indicator, it will be able to produce up to 580 million kilowatt hours of electricity in a year," the expert said.

I.Shaban added that the difference between alternative energy sources and traditional power plants is that in them electricity production is not stable.

"Because even if you have a trillion dollars in cash in your hands, you can't command the sun or the wind. As they say, it depends on nature. More or less, it depends on sunny and windy days. So from this point of view, the Garadagh solar power plant is important because it can increase the volume of solar electricity produced in Azerbaijan by 8-9 times per year," the economist opined.

According to the analyst, the Masdar project had no analogues in the region and Central Asia, and there was no proper information about it. The expert emphasized that in the post-Soviet countries when they talk about alternative energy, i.e., wind and solar, they do not add water, i.e. hydropower.

"So when they call it alternative energy on a global scale, it's not designed to convert water power into electricity. That's why they mention there that when it's restored, the hydro plant will already be there," Shabanov added.

Azerbaijan has managed to overcome many challenges and difficulties, and its smooth transition to a bright future in using green energy to transition to a sustainable economy by 2030 is not far off. There is still much to learn.

"The largest production of alternative energy is now in the post-Soviet space; according to the results of 2022 - it is Kazakhstan. Just imagine, Kazakhstan manages to get 5.1 billion kilowatt hours of electricity from alternative energy. There is also Russia, and I honestly do not know the third one. Azerbaijan is a very small country with a micro-indicator in this respect," the expert said.

Aquapower will launch a wind farm next year which could increase the amount of electricity Azerbaijan already generates from wind and solar to more than one billion kilowatt hours by 2025.

"That is, look for yourself now, where it is 150 million and where it is more than 1 billion. That is increasing its volume by 7-8 times. So this is a historic and important event for us," the economist pointed out.

Azerbaijan plans to build facilities using alternative energy sources. The expert added that, at the time Macron visited Kazakhstan, Total Energies had a subsidiary of the French energy giant that specializes exclusively in alternative energy called Total Aran. This company, according to Shaban, has a contract with GasMunay Gas to build a solar power plant in southern Kazakhstan.

"The capacity of the plant will be 1,000 megawatts. In other words, we are pioneers in green energy in general. However, we have nothing to do with it. Let's put it this way: we have nothing to do with bragging. For example, what was in Europe 20 years ago, we apply now. We have not done anything innovative in this area. Since we don't have this technology, we have to import it," he noted.

According to the analyst, due to long-standing conflict in Garabagh over the last 30 years, Azerbaijan has not taken any serious steps to attract foreign investment in the form of laws and legislative acts. Because the main task was to resolve the Garabagh issue by liberating the occupied lands. For that reason, Azerbaijan directed all of its support to strengthening the army.

"In 2023, a new law on e-ethics was passed, and in the next 5 years, quite a lot will change in this area. But, of course, other countries are not standing still, they will go further. That is, the strongest green country in the region will be the country that uses the most green energy, as time shows. Now, after 5 years of negotiations that started in 2018, we have built a power plant," I. Shaban added.

According to him, Azerbaijan will soon be able to implement projects in the shortest possible time, and what Turkiye does in a month, Azerbaijan has been doing for five years and will soon improve this area.

"Electric cars have been on the agenda for 15 years; it's a practice and they are more common in Europe because in Europe, you bring your internal combustion engine car, you buy it and when you buy it, there is a different approach from country to country in Europe, and it depends on their capacity. Between €4,000 and €12,000, countries give a rebate for an electric car. There is a lot of support, including in China. As a result, one country now accounts for 60 percent of global electric vehicle production. That is the People's Republic of China," the expert underlined.

Having passed a difficult stage, Azerbaijan is moving to a new frontier of innovation and technology. Most of the projects that were frozen due to the conflict in Garabagh, at this stage can be realized soon. The main thing is the long-term provision of security in the region. Another main issue is that neighboring countries in the region support each other in economic projects. Thus, Azerbaijan's bright future largely comes from peace in the South Caucasus.

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