By Rasana Gasimova
The construction of the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), which is the main part of the Southern Gas Corridor, is 90 percent complete, Azerbaijani Energy Minister Parviz Shahbazov said at the opening the International Energy Charter Forum held in Baku on October 24.
The Minister noted that over three billion cubic meters of gas have been transported to Turkey via the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP) since July 2018.
“The diversification plan that Europe has sought to implement over the years will be implemented in 2020. Azerbaijan’s chairmanship of the Energy Charter Conference during this period shows the Southern Gas Corridor’s strategic importance and confirms the country's contribution to achieving such priority goals as diversification and decarbonization in this part of the continent,” the minister said.
“The active use of renewable energy sources, attracting private and foreign investment in this process, transition to a liberal market model based on the energy sector competition, thereby, implementation of environmental obligations is one of the main tasks,” Shahbazov said.
The minister further noted that Baku's decision to hold large-scale energy forums and conferences is connected with its historical and modern role in the world’s energy.
“From the historical point of view, Baku is the energy capital of the world and one of the modern leading energy centers,” Shahbazov said.
The Minister noted that development processes related to energy are not limited to national borders and require global cooperation.
Shakhbazov praised the Energy Charter as one of the significant platforms for cooperation.
Speaking at the event, Safa Uslu, Director General of the Main Department for Foreign Affairs of the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources of Turkey, said that Turkey started receiving gas through the Trans-Anatolian Gas Pipeline (TANAP) in summer 2019. He added that preparations are underway for the opening of TAP.
Touching upon Turkey’s energy policy, he noted that the country intends to reduce its dependence on external sources of energy.
Urban Rusnak, Secretary General of the Energy Charter Secretariat said the preparations of the first National Action Plan for Energy Efficiency in Azerbaijan started in 2019. He noted that the plan is expected to be completed by the end of 2019 and discussed with relevant authorities in early 2020.
Kestutis Jankauskas, Head of the EU delegation in Azerbaijan, noted that the EU has been pursuing a policy of supporting the transition to renewable energy since 2009.
“Prior to this, EU countries pursued this policy on a voluntary basis. Ten out of 27 EU countries have achieved the goals of transition to renewable energy sources. 32 percent of electricity in the EU is generated from renewable energy sources. Denmark leads the EU in the renewable energy share in electricity generation (50 percent). We expect that the wind and solar energy share will continue to grow in the energy balance of the EU countries. The renewable energy sources share in the energy balance will increase from 32 percent to 60 percent,” Jankauskas said.
Speaking about Azerbaijan’s potential, Jankauskas called Azerbaijan a country of fires, as well as a country of solar and wind energy and noted that the social impact of this policy is important for the country.
Ivana Duarte, Head of the EBRD representative office in Azerbaijan also spoke at the event. Duarte said that the EBRD is developing an action plan with the ministry and the government to support renewable energy projects.
“All the issues we discuss should be addressed through the lens of the market, technical solutions, etc. At the same time we need to solve many other issues in cooperation with the Ministry of Energy and other partners,” Duarte said.
Samir Akhundov, Chairman of the Management Board of the Energy Regulatory Agency under Azerbaijan’s Energy Ministry also spoke at the forum, saying that land plots foreseen for a new renewable energy auction have been selected.
The Head of the Agency also said that by 2030, Azerbaijan should increase the use of renewable energy by 30 percent. Over the past 5 years, significant efforts have been made to increase the number of renewable energy facilities.
He mentioned that the potential of solar energy in Azerbaijan is estimated at 20,000 megawatts.
Nasrul Hamid, Bangladeshi Minister of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources who also addressed the forum, said that only 64 percent of the country’s energy comes from natural gas supplies.The Minister noted that Bhutan and Nepal have great potential in the hydroelectric sector.
"We have increased the regenerative energy use by 10 percent through cooperation with India, Bhutan, Nepal and other countries," Hamid added.
The topic of the International Energy Charter Forum is “Enabling Energy Transformation through Technology and Policy Innovations”.
The four-session forum is dedicated to the development of renewable energy and technology, the use and regulation of renewable energy, the energy efficiency promotion, the sharing of best practices and regional security experience.
The forum is attended by top ranking officials from 13 countries, including Azerbaijan, Turkey, Georgia, Austria, China, Greece, Albania, Croatia, Spain, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burundi and Yemen.
The event is also attended by representatives from 42 international organizations, local and foreign energy companies, public bodies, as well as diplomatic corps in Azerbaijan and about 200 experts and journalists.
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