By Narmina Mammadova
Azerbaijan enjoys a vast potential of renewable energy sources and strives to make use of it.
In 2018, electricity produced from renewable sources will exceed 10 percent of the total energy generated in Azerbaijan, Deputy Chairman of The State Agency on Alternative and Renewable Energy Sources of the Republic of Azerbaijan Jamil Malikov told Trend.
It is forecasted that this figure will reach 12 percent by 2020, and by 2030 it should reach 20 percent, he said.
"This requires investment, appropriate regulatory framework and an optimal tariff policy. In 2017, the volume of electricity produced from renewable sources amounted to 9.8 percent of the total energy production. In alternative energy, the energy losses are very small, since production facilities are located in close proximity to the end user," Malikov noted.
Malikov stressed that, in the production of energy from renewable sources, high-voltage lines are not used and when high-voltage lines are used, it is necessary to transform the voltage from high to low.
He went on to say that in 2018, the share of renewable energy will be higher than it was in 2017, and the prerequisite for this is that one large 50 megawatt wind farm "Yeni Yashma" and two small stations have been put into operation in the country.
"We hope that in the current year the share of renewable energy sources in the total electricity generation will exceed the ten percent level," the deputy chairman added.
The electricity generation capacity of Azerbaijan is 7,172.6 megawatts, which makes it possible to annually generate about 24 billion kilowatt hours of electricity. This allows Azerbaijan to annually export 2.1 billion kilowatt hours of electricity.
Today, the share of alternative energy sources in the electricity supply of Azerbaijan is 9.5 percent. In recent years, the development of renewable energy sources in Azerbaijan, the largest South Caucasus state on the Caspian shore, has been in the focus of attention. Currently, the country is able to fully meet its own energy needs, and seeks to supply power to the European market.
Azerbaijan was able to build a strong power system in less than 20 years, conducting reconstruction and renovation of old generating capacities and creating new ones.
The energy rich country generates power through hydroelectric, wind and solar power plants, as well as biogas installations. At the moment, the capacity of Azerbaijan’s electricity system exceeds 12,000 megawatt. The total potential of renewable energy sources exceeds 25,300 megawatt.
A major part of the country’s capacity in this area accounts for solar energy, while its potential is estimated at 5,000 megawatts. Some 4,500 megawatts accounts for wind power, 1,500 megawatts -- for biomass, 800 megawatts -- for geothermal energy, and the remaining 350 megawatts -- for the small hydro power plants (HPP).
The State Agency on Alternative and Renewable Energy Sources of Azerbaijan has determined areas, capacities, amounts to be invested in producing 4,200 megawatts in 2018-2020 and other required information.
In the coming years, the agency plans to implement 23 projects worth about 13 million manats as part of the Strategic Roadmap for the Development of Public Utilities (Electric and Thermal Energy, Water and Gas).
The projects include construction of wind, hydro and biofuel power plants with a total capacity of 4,200 megawatts. This is while 3,500 megawatts will account for wind power plants, 500 megawatts for solar power plants, and 200 megawatts will account for biofuel power plants. The cost of building wind power plants will be 10.2 million manats, solar - 1.48 million manats, and biofuel - 1.16 million manats.
Azerbaijan aims to increase usage of renewable energy sources and the country has all opportunities for this.
Azerbaijan is one of those countries where the use of wind energy is beneficial due to geographical conditions. The Absheron Peninsula, the coastline of the Caspian Sea and the islands in the northwestern part of the Caspian Sea, the Ganja-Dashkesan zone in the west of Azerbaijan and the Sharur-Julfa region of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic are especially favorable for these purposes. The country’s wind energy potential is 350 megawatts.
Solar energy is also one of the most favorable energy sources in the world, and it is especially promising in regions. The natural climate of Azerbaijan also provides ample opportunities to increase the production of electricity and heat through the use of solar energy. During the year, the number of sunny hours in Azerbaijan is 2,400-3,200, which means that the number of sunlight falling on the territory of Azerbaijan is higher than in other countries. This can be considered one of the criteria for the effectiveness of attracting investment in the use of solar energy. The development of solar energy can partially solve the energy problems in several regions of Azerbaijan. Some 50 megawatts account for solar energy.
From an environmental point of view, water is the cleanest source of energy in the world. The production of hydropower in Azerbaijan has increased since 1990. The country has ample opportunities for the development of hydropower resources, which have not been used yet. As a result of the construction of hydro power plants, floodwaters are regulated, ecologically clean production is being carried out, and new irrigation systems are being created. Rivers in the territory of Azerbaijan are convenient for creating small HPPs. Azerbaijan’s hydro power plants generated 1.18 billion kilowatt hours of commercial electricity in January-July 2018.
Azerbaijan has the following biomass sources: flammable industrial waste, waste from forestry and the woodworking sector, crops and organic mixing waste, household and municipal waste, waste from areas polluted by oil and oil products. According to research, most of the waste produced in all sectors of the economy consists of biomass products. From this biomass, you can get gas, liquid and solid biomass, which are used in the production of electricity. Every year in Azerbaijan, over 2 million tons of solid household and industrial waste is discharged to neutralize landfills. Processing solid household and industrial waste can partially solve the problem of heating homes in Baku and major industrial cities of the country. During the next few years, it will be possible to reach the level of 20 megawatts in bioenergy.
Geothermal sources are widely used in many countries in industry, agriculture, household and utilities, and in medicine. The territory of Azerbaijan is rich in thermal waters. They are spread over vast territories, such as the Great and Lesser Caucasus Mountains , the Absheron Peninsula , the Talysh Mountain Slope, the Kura Basin and the Caspian-Guba Region. Due to the use of thermal waters in these areas, it is possible to cover part of the demand for thermal energy used in everyday life and other areas.
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