By Akbar Mammadov
Ivana Duarte, Head of the EBRD’s (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development) Baku office has praised Azerbaijan’s efforts to develop the country’s alternative energy sector. In an exclusive interview to Azernews, she also said that the EBRD is spearheading the effort to launch competitive tendering of renewable energy through auctions in the country. Below is the text of the full interview:
How would you evaluate Azerbaijan's efforts to develop its alternative energy sector as well as the country's potential in this field?
We see a huge potential in the renewables sector and aim to make a real impact in this area.
Continued efforts by the authorities to reform the energy market and improve the business climate are key in unlocking our own funds and mobilising financing from other sources.
And the authorities are strongly committed. Reflecting this commitment, a new legislative framework for the support of renewable energy sources is currently under preparation. The draft Renewable Energy Law is expected to provide the legal basis for developing renewable energy projects in the country. It envisages different support mechanisms, including a competitive procurement scheme to select, and determine the level of support provided to various projects, for example auctions.
As the leading financier of renewable sources in our region, we are spearheading the effort to launch competitive tendering of renewable energy through auctions in the country. Our work is focused on helping the Ministry of Energy to identify true market prices for specific sources of renewable energy and to create a fair, transparent auction process.
We took note of the recently announced plans by the government to develop a solar and a wind pilot project. This is a promising development for this nascent sector.
How will the development of alternative energy resources affect Azerbaijan’s economy?
Developing and adopting energy efficiency measures and renewable sources of energy in any country fuels economic growth, creates new employment opportunities, enhances human welfare and contributes to a climate-safe future.
The positive impacts on the economic growth are driven by the increased investment in renewable energy deployment, which triggers ripple effects throughout the economy. Greater demand for renewables will also create more jobs in the sector.
Privately developed renewables are also helping make energy systems more efficient, environmentally and people-friendly and sustainable. Azerbaijan, where state-owned companies are responsible for 90 per cent of the energy generation, will in particular benefit from private investment in cutting-edge renewable projects.
In addition, making better use of the country’s renewable energy potential can help direct more natural resources to higher value export market while helping to diversify the country’s economy.
How do you think SMEs (Small and medium-sized enterprises) can benefit from alternative energy resources?
Renewable energy can boost SMEs in many different ways.
- Lower energy bills by using own energy (e.g, waste-to-energy technologies or solar on the roof) or using less of it;
- Energy security (when companies produces its own energy from renewable sources);
- Improve a firm’s reputation as a business that cares about the environment, customers and community;
- Create jobs and stimulate economy by creating a larger demand for renewable energy production;
- Fewer emissions and smaller carbon footprint – everyone benefits!
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