By Leman Mammadova
Increasing the share of renewable energy sources in electricity production to 30 percent by 2030 is one of the tasks set by the Azerbaijani Ministry of Energy.
The production of 1 billion kWh of electricity from renewable energy sources will save 200 million cubic meters of natural gas, said Parviz Shahbazov, Azerbaijan’s Energy Minister, in his article published in the local press.
He added that Azerbaijan's potential for electricity production from renewable energy sources is estimated at 26,000 MW.
In his words, current electricity production from renewable sources in Azerbaijan is 8.1 percent. Thus, production from traditional energy sources accounts for 91.9 percent.
“The capacity of power plants on renewable energy sources, including large hydroelectric power plants, is 17 percent in total electricity production, which corresponds to generating capacities of 1,276 MW,” he said.
Shahbazov stressed that the potential of generating capacities of renewable energy sources in the country totals 26,000 MW, according to estimates.
“Following the research conducted jointly with relevant agencies, the ministry identified eight areas with high potential to create renewable energy sources,” he said.
“Preparations for energy infrastructure and environmental assessment are still underway in these areas. Efforts are being made to eliminate barriers to implementation of projects and factors that may be considered as risky for investment,” he added.
Shahbazov emphasized that the ministry works closely with BP, TOTAL, Masdar, ACWA Power, and a number of other well-known international companies to strengthen cooperation in the use of renewable energy sources and encourage investment in the future.
“In total, nine companies signed cooperation documents. Several companies from Europe, China, Japan, Turkey, South Korea, Arab countries are interested in cooperation with Azerbaijan in the field of renewable energy,” he noted.
Shahbazov added that some companies have submitted proposals for large-scale investment projects in the area of using renewable energy sources in the country. “These proposals are currently being studied and evaluated.”
He further stressed that the ministry has developed a draft law on renewable energy to establish a regulatory framework in this area. “The draft law will be reviewed by the relevant government agencies and will be submitted to the Cabinet of Ministers after approval. This will contribute to strengthening energy security, fulfilling our country's commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, creating new service and production facilities and, ultimately, creating more jobs and, most importantly, saving natural gas.”
Presently, Azerbaijan implements a number of measures for further development of alternative energy sector, aimed at reduction of its dependency on oil and gas.
The Energy Ministry has already signed memorandums of understanding with BP, TOTAL and Equinor on alternative energy cooperation.
The country is currently working on the new draft law on alternative energy sources together with Norwegian company DNV GL.
According to the Market Analysis Azerbaijan 2019, expansion of renewable electricity generation is estimated at 430 MW in 2018-2020, 840 MW in 2021-2025, and 925 MW in 2026-2030. The share of renewables in the total power generation is expected to be 15 percent by 2020, 25-30 percent by 2025 and 35-40 percent by 2030.
Leman Mammadova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @leman_888
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