By Leman Mammadova
Renewables are the sources of clean and inexhaustible energy. Hydrocarbons, which are the traditional source of energy used by the world for many years, are gradually being run out and, thus, make the use of alternative and renewable energy sources urgent.
Azerbaijan produced goods and services worth 181,9 million manats ($ 107 million) in production, distribution and supply of electricity, gas and steam in January 2019, which makes a 0.5 percent increase compared to the same period last year, according to the State Statistics Committee.
Production volumes in the sector of water supply, wastewater treatment and processing increased by 8.1 percent reaching 24.6 million manats ($ 14.5 million).
In the reporting period, Azerbaijan produced 2185,3 million kWh of electricity, which is 0.6 percent more than in last year.
However, 98,200 kWh of this accounted for the production of hydro power plants, that shows a 6.1 percent increase compared to previous year.
Thermal power plants increased electricity production by 1 percent to 1,996.3 kWh.
Wind power production rose 7.6 times to 11.4 kWh, while solar power production decreased by 26.3 percent to 2.4 kWh.
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 the country is more than 25,300 megawatts. Most of the country's potential in this area falls on solar energy, while it 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 use of wind energy in Azerbaijan is considered prospective. More than 270 days of strong winds were captured on the Absheron Peninsula and in the coastal zone of the Caspian Sea. The average annual speed of the wind is 7.2 meters per second. The calculations show that a wind power plant with a capacity of 500 kW prevents emissions of 750 to 1,250 tons of carbon dioxide and 3-6 tons of other harmful substances compared to the coal-fired power plant.
According to the State Agency for Alternative and Renewable Energy Sources, Azerbaijan has about 800 MW of annual wind energy reserves due to its geographical location, natural conditions and economic infrastructure. This is about 2.4 billion kWh of electricity, in other words it is possible to save about 1 million tons of fuel per year due to the wind energy.
Aiming to lessen its dependency on oil, Azerbaijan carries out a number of measures for further development of alternative energy sector.
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 district, construction of wind power plants in the Pirallahi district, an agro-energy residential complex in the Samukh district 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 district are the biggest projects planned for implementation.
Leman Mammadova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @leman_888
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