By Leman Mammadova
Azerbaijan's energy cooperation with its neighbors is not limited to oil and gas sector, but also develops in renewables.
A trilateral meeting on energy cooperation between Turkey, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan was held in Istanbul on April 19.
Turkey was represented by Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Fatih Donmez, Minister of Energy Parviz Shahbazov represented Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan was represented by Chairman of the Turkmenecology State Corporation Shahym Abdrahmanov.
At the meeting, the sides discussed the issues related to the current state and prospects for the development of cooperation between the countries in the energy sector.
It was noted that successive meetings of the ministers of Turkey, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, a number of adopted documents, common regional interests and joint projects such as the Afghanistan-Turkmenistan-Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey transport corridor, the Trans-Eurasian Information Super Highway and the restoration of the Great Silk Road form a strong base for cooperation in a trilateral format.
The parties also discussed prospects for the development of this format in the energy sector.
A joint declaration signed following the meeting envisages expansion of existing cooperation in the areas of renewable energy, energy efficiency and green technologies; exchange of experience; strengthening ties between companies and research centers of the three countries operating the energy sector including oil and gas industry; and holding exhibitions, conferences and seminars.
Aiming to lessen its dependency on oil, Azerbaijan carries out a number of measures for further development of alternative energy sector. The favorable geographic location and climatic conditions allow the widespread use of environmentally friendly alternative energy sources in Azerbaijan.
At present, 18 percent of electricity production in Azerbaijan fell on alternative energy sources, in which hydro power plants hold main share, although wind power maintains 59.2 percent (15,000 MW) share in total potential for renewable energy. It is followed by solar power - 31.6 percent (8,000 MW), biomass power - 3.5 percent (900 MW), geothermal power - 3.1 percent (800 MW), and hydropower 2.6 percent (650 MW).
Azerbaijan is planning to introduce the new draft law on alternative energy sources by May 2019. In this context, the Norwegian DNV GL helps create a support system and a legal framework in Azerbaijan's alternative energy sector. The interests of investors may be considered in the drafts being prepared and thus, in the coming years, Azerbaijan will implement significant projects in the field of renewable energy sources based on private investments.
Memorandums of cooperation have already been signed with the UAE-based company Masdar, Turkish company Tekfen and UK's Atkins. The Energy Ministry is cooperating with BP, Total and Equinor to develop alternative energy cooperation as well.
There are plans to implement a number of projects totaling $2.3 billion in alternative energy. The projects include a plant for production of biofuels (pellet fuels) in the Sabirabad region, construction of wind power plants in the Pirallahi district, an agro-energy residential complex in the Samukh region and others.
Construction of two wind power farms worth $800 million and $408.9 million in the Pirallahi district, as well as a wind power farm worth $377.7 million in the Khizi rehion are the biggest projects planned for implementation.
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, 925 in 2026-2030. However, the share of renewables in total power generation is expected to be 15 percent by 2020, 25-30 percent by 2025 and 35-40 percent by 2030.