Azerbaijan to launch new green energy projects - deputy minister [PHOTO]
By Vugar Khalilov
Deputy Energy Minister Elnur Soltanov has said that Azerbaijan will launch new “green” energy programs, Azernews reports.
He made the remarks at the German-Azerbaijani Sustainable Development Forum on the topic ‘Renewable Energy in Azerbaijan’, on June 21, the report added.
According to Soltanov, since natural gas accounts for about 94 percent of Azerbaijan's electricity production, increasing the amount of "green" energy will result in gas savings.
The deputy minister emphasized that objectives have been set and activities are being conducted with this aim.
"Work continues jointly with the Ministry of Economy to attract investors. Local investors are a priority for us. However, this cooperation area is also available for foreign investors, and the good news is expected in this regard in the near future," Soltanov said.
He added that Azerbaijan anticipates a rise in the number of renewable energy auctions.
"We are constantly looking for potential investors for new renewable energy projects. We expect an increase in the number of auctions in the sphere of solar photovoltaic and wind energy in near future," Soltanov said.
According to him, Azerbaijan also has a large potential for offshore wind energy production, with the Caspian Sea's potential being assessed at 157 gigawatts.
The official highlighted that one of the priorities in the program "Azerbaijan 2030: National Priorities for Socio-Economic Development" signed by President Ilham Aliyev is to turn Azerbaijan into an environmentally friendly country. The program also includes work to minimize environmental pollution.
"This means not only that energy will come from renewable sources, but also to increase energy efficiency. One of our priorities is to achieve pure zero carbon emissions. Today, the installed capacity of renewable energy sources in Azerbaijan is 17 percent. It is planned to increase this figure to 30 percent by 2030,” Soltanov emphasized.
He went on to say that Azerbaijan's Karabakh region has great potential for solar energy development.
"Karabakh has the best potential for generating solar electricity, second only to the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic," Soltanov noted.
He briefed the forum participants about the efforts of turning the region into a "green" zone.
"All energy sources in Karabakh will operate on alternative energy. We have already restored four small hydroelectric power plants, and by the end of this year it’s planned to restore 18 more at the expense of private investors," the deputy minister said.
He also recalled the groundbreaking construction of solar and wind power facilities totaling 470 megawatts with prominent energy companies ACWA Power and Masdar took place in early 2022.
Furthermore, Tabriz Ammayev, Director of the State Agency for Renewable Energy Sources under the Azerbaijani Energy Ministry, stated that new projects in the Renewable Energy Sources (RES) sector are likely to be approved in Azerbaijan.
"Azerbaijan has already adopted a law ‘On the use of renewable energy sources in the production of electricity’. A renewable energy strategy for 2022 through 2026 is being developed. We hope it will be approved soon," Ammayev said.
He noted that Azerbaijan's hydrogen production potential is now being analyzed in collaboration with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
"Creation of ‘green’ zone in Karabakh will also contribute to significant development and increase the experience of Azerbaijan in the production of renewable energy," Ammayev said.
The director also briefed the forum participants about a number of agreements with companies such as ACWA Power (Saudi Arabia), Masdar (UAE’s Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company), and current energy projects.
"Azerbaijan being an oil and gas exporting country pays significant attention to sustainable development. Country striving to achieve the target of 30 percent for the usage of RES by 2030 with the potential for further growth," Ammayev said.
Addressing the event, Heiko Schwarz, deputy chief of the German Embassy in Azerbaijan, emphasized that significant chances for peace and development had already emerged in the South Caucasus.
“We have already seen real opportunities in the South Caucasus. This is peace and prosperity. The European Union also supports this. We are living in a state of crisis. Sometimes we take peace for granted and don’t understand its value. Crises encourage us not only to move towards sustainability but also to consider each sphere in a broader aspect," Schwarz stressed.
Moreover, Vice President of Uniper Global Commodities SE Michael Hilmer said that Azerbaijan has a considerable capacity for renewable energy development.
"Azerbaijan has great potential in the renewable energy sector. Uniper is ready to cooperate with the sides wishing to take an active part in the South Caucasus. The launch of the major renewable energy project is also scheduled in Azerbaijan," he stated.
Hilmer underlined the formation of a working group on energy transition in Azerbaijan.
"We can get our ideas across to decision-makers through this group," Hilmer said.
He noted that, while renewables were previously addressed in light of climate change, they are now being referred to on a far wider scale.
On June 21, the German-Azerbaijani Chamber of Commerce (AHK Azerbaijan) and RENAC AG organized a German-Azerbaijani Sustainability Forum on "Renewable Energy in Azerbaijan" within the Energy Export Initiative of the German Federal Ministry of Economy and Climate Protection.
The forum, which was moderated by AHK Azerbaijan Executive Director Tobias Baumann, discussed cooperation between the two countries in the field of renewable energy.
Angelika Farhan-Reimpell, head of the German Energy Solutions Coordination Office at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Activity, spoke about the work done by her organization as part of the energy solutions initiative.
The AHK Azerbaijan Board Chairman Farid Isayev expressed confidence that the forum will contribute to cooperation between entrepreneurs of the two countries.
The forum continued with discussions.
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