By Leman Mammadova
Azerbaijan is taking serious steps to develop renewable energy sector to not rely on its hydrocarbons that are being run out and which are not also environmentally friendly.
French company TOTAL and the Energy Ministry of Azerbaijan agreed on cooperation in the field of renewable energy sources.
Azerbaijan’s Energy Ministry and France's Total Eren have signed a memorandum of understanding for the development of renewable energy sources, Trend reports with reference to the Energy Ministry on February 5.
The memorandum envisages cooperation in assessment of potential and creation of conditions for investment in renewable energy projects in Azerbaijan.
The document was signed by Azerbaijan’s Deputy Energy Minister Elnur Soltanov and Head of Business Development of Total Eren in the Caucasus Emmanuel Terroir.
Soltanov spoke about cooperation with Total, about the implemented projects, and added that this experience will further enrich cooperation on renewables.
He provided detailed information on the potential of renewable energy in Azerbaijan and added that this document will contribute to increasing the share of renewables in energy production and will also open a new page in cooperation with Total.
The commissioning of 420 MW of wind, solar and bioenergy generating capacities is planned in accordance with the Strategic Roadmap for the development of public services in Azerbaijan, he said.
“For this purpose, a legislative base is being created, mechanisms for attracting fair investments are being determined, and cooperation with international energy companies and financial organizations with advanced experience in this field is developing. The signing of the Memorandum with TOTAL will contribute to the work to increase the share of renewable energy in the total electricity generation,” noted Soltanov.
Denis Lemarchal, Total executive director and representative for Azerbaijan, highly appreciated the long-term energy cooperation with Azerbaijan.
He emphasized that TOTAL Eren specializes in energy projects, in particular in the development, financing and operation of wind and photovoltaic stations.
The memorandum of understanding will allow the company to realize its interests in the development of green energy in Azerbaijan, he said.
It should be noted that as of September 2017, the Total group invested 237.5 million euros in EREN Renewable Energy which was then renamed Total Eren.
Total, which is a global energy producer and provider, a leading international oil and gas company, and a major player in low-carbon energies, operates in more than 130 countries worldwide. Total has been developing a long-term partnership with Azerbaijan since 1996, mainly focusing on exploring and producing oil and gas.
The Energy Ministry is also cooperating with BP and Equinor to develop alternative energy cooperation as well.
Negotiations with BP have already resulted in signing a Memorandum of Understanding to jointly explore potential opportunities for the development of renewable energy in Azerbaijan, as of December 2018.
Azerbaijan is planning to introduce the new draft law on alternative energy sources by May 2019. In this context, the Norwegian DNV GL will help create a support system and a legal framework in Azerbaijan's alternative energy sector.
The favorable geographic location and climatic conditions allow the widespread use of environmentally friendly alternative energy sources in Azerbaijan.
The capacity of the energy system of Azerbaijan is more than 6,000 megawatts. At the same time, according to experts, the potential of renewable energy sources in Azerbaijan exceeds 25,300 megawatts, which will allow generating 62.8 billion kilowatt hours of electricity annually.
At present, 18 percent of electricity production in Azerbaijan fell on alternative energy sources, in which hydroelectric power stations hold main share, although most of the country's potential in this area falls on solar energy (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.
Azerbaijan implements a number of measures for further development of alternative energy sector. To this end, negotiations are underway with foreign companies and investors, including companies from China, the UAE, the US and the EU.
The Azerbaijani government is planning to increase the share of alternative energy by 30 percent by 2030 in total power generation.
Leman Mammadova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @leman_888
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