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Baku district seen as renewable energy source

5 November 2012 20:13 (UTC+04:00)
Baku district seen as renewable energy source

By Nigar Orujova

A district of the Azerbaijani capital Baku is proposed to be used for development of renewable energy sources, according to the State Committee for Urban Planning and Architecture.

"It concerns the uninhabited territories of Garadagh district," Ilgar Isbatov, Director of Design Institute under the State Committee, said Friday during public discussions on the Greater Baku development plan.

Azerbaijan, a hydrocarbon-rich country, plans to increase renewable energy production and to reach 20 percent share of renewable energy in the electricity sector and 9.7 percent share in energy consumption by 2020 compared to the current 2.3 per cent.

The share of renewable energy in total consumption is to be increased by creating new power generating capacities of up to 2,500 megawatts in 2020.

According to this figure, by late 2011, 9.8 percent of energy fell to the share of hydropower, while the rest accounted for other types of energy.

The strategy on the use and development of alternative and renewable energy sources in 2012-2020 will be approved in Azerbaijan by late 2012, with its implementation scheduled for 2013.

The State Agency on Alternative and Renewable Energy Sources, established in 2009, plans to increase the share of renewable energy sources to 20 percent by 2020 from the current 10 percent and $90 million has been allocated for the purpose.

According to the head of the agency, Akim Badalov, due to the high investment costs and long return on investments, the private sector was not granted the licenses for tapping alternative energy sources.

"Under the new conditions, we will improve the alternative energy sector through cooperation between state and private enterprises," Badalov said.

Telman Zeynalov, head of the National Center of Ecological Forecasting, believes Azerbaijan has enough resources such as sunlight, wind and thermal waters to produce alternative energy.

"Throughout the year average wind speed is 5-7 meters per second, which is perfect for effective exploitation of wind generators. We also have enough resources to use solar energy. The number of sunny days in Azerbaijan reaches 250-280 per year," Zeynalov said.

Zeynalov noted that Azerbaijan is suitable for using the energy of thermal waters, especially in the northern Guba region, where the temperature of waters reaches 90 degrees at times.

In late December 2011, President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree on the development of a six-month state strategy on the use of alternative and renewable energy sources in Azerbaijan in 2012-2020.

The key objectives of the state strategy include creation of a very sustainable energy system, to determine key areas for electrical and thermal energy production from renewable sources, and to establish optimal conditions for the promotion of the renewable energy sector.

The slight delay in the preparation of the strategy was due to the establishment of a state company in Azerbaijan under the state agency for alternative energy.

Azerbaijan has a lot of renewable energy resources.

The wind, which blows more than 250 days per year, may generate 2.4 billion KWh of electricity annually, and is the country's preferred option for its lower cost, environmental soundness and unlimited availability.

With 2,400-3,200 hours of sunshine per year, Azerbaijan also has good potential for generation of solar electricity and heat.

While its technically feasible potential of 16 billion kWh remains underexploited, hydropower is currently the most developed renewable energy source.

With 2 million tons of solid domestic and production waste annually sent to treatment sites, the country also possesses good potential for tapping into biomass energy.

Finally, the exploitation of thermal waters could partially meet heat energy needs.

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