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Tuesday May 28 2024

China eager to tap into Azerbaijan's renewable energy potential for large-scale initiatives

15 May 2024 19:15 (UTC+04:00)
China eager to tap into Azerbaijan's renewable energy potential for large-scale initiatives
Nazrin Abdul
Nazrin Abdul
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Azerbaijan, having achieved economic independence, has seamlessly integrated into the global community through effective policy measures. Notably, there has been a significant uptick in official visits between Azerbaijan and China, a pivotal player in the global economy, indicating a strengthening bond between the two nations.

Despite the considerable difference in economic scale, Azerbaijan shares a development philosophy akin to that of China. Both nations exhibit resilience to global risks and prioritise leveraging internal resources for sustainable growth.

As a member of the Global South, Azerbaijan staunchly advocates for the interests of these nations within the Non-Aligned Movement and pledges further support within the COP29 framework. Notably, Azerbaijan wants to collaborate with China within COP29, as exemplified by recent discussions between the Azerbaijani delegation and Chinese counterparts.

Chinese firms are keenly interested in collaborating with Azerbaijan, particularly in renewable energy. Discussions are underway regarding the establishment of electric vehicle production and renewable energy infrastructure, showcasing mutual investment interests.

Highlighting the burgeoning partnership, a recent meeting between Azerbaijan's Minister of Energy Parviz Shahbazov and representatives from "China Energy Engineering Group Co. Ltd" and "China Energy International Group Co." underscored progress on renewable energy projects. The meeting addressed the implementation of the 2 GW renewable energy projects outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding signed with the "China Gezhouba Group Overseas Investment" company.

The primary focus of the meeting was to discuss the development of multifaceted cooperation in renewable energy and collaboration opportunities with Chinese companies in preparation for COP29.

During the meeting, the Chinese representatives provided an overview of projects undertaken by China Energy Engineering Group Co. Ltd, emphasising their comprehensive development plans and services for the energy and infrastructure sectors both in China and globally. They also expressed a keen interest in participating in large-scale activities to leverage Azerbaijan’s significant renewable energy potential.

Discussions centred around potential cooperation in establishing green energy corridors and interconnectors, facilitating green energy export, and advancing the production and transportation of green hydrogen and green ammonia, as well as exploring energy storage systems.

The meeting also addressed issues related to the Memorandum of Understanding on the implementation of 2 GW of renewable energy projects signed between Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Energy and China Gezhouba Group Overseas Investment. The participants assessed progress and next steps for the construction of 60 MW and 100 MW solar power plants. In conclusion, it was agreed to enhance mutual interaction by establishing a Working Group tasked with evaluating proposals for potential cooperation areas and collaborating on relevant projects.

The strategic partnership between Azerbaijan and China extends beyond bilateral agreements. Azerbaijan's early endorsement of China's "One Belt, One Road" initiative positions it as a pivotal logistics hub bridging Eurasian nations. Key infrastructure projects like the Alat port and the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway facilitate smoother trade routes between Europe and Asia, benefiting multiple Eurasian countries.

Additionally, it's noteworthy that a Memorandum of Understanding was inked between the Ministry of Energy of Azerbaijan and the National Energy Administration of China on October 17, 2023, during the "One Belt, One Road" International Cooperation Forum. This significant document outlines the expansion of bilateral relations in the energy sector, fostering cooperation on new technologies, energy infrastructure renewal, mutual investment promotion, and the exchange of expertise in renewable energy sources. Furthermore, it emphasises joint conferences, forums, and training initiatives.

Recalling China's "One Belt, One Road" initiative launched in 2013, aimed at fostering infrastructure and mutual relations among Eurasian countries, it's essential to recognise Azerbaijan's early endorsement. As the first country in the Caucasus region to support this initiative, Azerbaijan serves as a pivotal logistics centre, hub, and bridge, facilitating the realisation of the "One Belt, One Road" strategy.

During the official visit of President Ilham Aliyev to China in December 2015, the "Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Government of the People's Republic of China on the joint promotion of the establishment of the Silk Road Economic Belt" was signed, further solidifying bilateral ties.

Notably, Azerbaijan's strategic geographical position as the sole country intersecting the "East-West" and "North-South" transport corridors creates opportunities for nations to the north and south to participate in this transformative project.

The inauguration of the port in Alat settlement in May 2018, as part of Azerbaijan's "One Belt, One Road" mega project, equipped with cutting-edge technological infrastructure, signifies a significant leap forward. The operational systems enable cargo owners to monitor the location and status of their shipments online, with plans to digitise all routes within the framework of the "One Belt, One Road" project, thus enhancing the efficiency of trade cycles.

The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, serving as the shortest rail link between Europe and Asia, not only benefits Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkiye but also opens up new economic avenues for countries across the Eurasian region.

In conclusion, the dynamic collaboration between Azerbaijan and China spans political, economic, and infrastructural domains, propelling their relations to new heights of cooperation and mutual benefit.

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