Azerbaijan’s breakthrough in transition to renewable energy
By Ayya Lmahamad
Azerbaijan has long been regarded as a reliable oil and gas supplier around the world. Azerbaijan is currently implementing very ambitious projects in the field of alternative energy in accordance with global initiatives on the transition to green energy.
In this regard, Azerbaijan has made significant strides in this field this year. In the country, the groundwork for two major facilities for generating electricity from renewable energy sources has been laid.
Renewable energy projects
On March 15, Baku's Gulustan Palace hosted the groundbreaking ceremony for the 230 MW Garadagh solar power plant.
Masdar, a company based in the United Arab Emirates, will construct the plant. The project's investment cost will be around $225 million.
The plant is designed to produce 500 million kWh of electricity per year and supply it to approximately 110,000 households. Furthermore, the plant will reduce gas consumption by 110 million cubic meters and environmental emissions by 200,000 tons. Over 500,000 solar panels are expected to be installed.
The solar power plant is scheduled to be put into operation by the end of the first half of 2023.
On January 13, a groundbreaking ceremony for the 240 MW Khizi-Absheron wind farm, which will be built by Saudi Arabia's ACWA Power, was held. During the year, it is expected to supply 300,000 households, save 220 million cubic meters of gas, and reduce 400,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
Another significant project in this area is BP's project to build a 240 MW solar power plant in Jabrayil, which is currently in the research stage.
Strengthening energy security
In an interview with the local media, economic analyst Ilgar Valizade said that the Garadagh station project aims to strengthen Azerbaijan's energy security by generating electricity from various sources.
"As a result of the construction of solar power plants, Azerbaijan will be able to ensure a sustainable energy balance, replace traditional energy sources with non-traditional ones, improve national green energy indicators, and stimulate the development of technological processes for introducing new technologies into our country's energy systems," he said.
He also stated that by using renewable energy sources to generate electricity, it will be possible to export the obtained gas volumes, allowing for an additional inflow of foreign currency into the country's economy.
Furthermore, the analyst stated that this project will allow Azerbaijan to diversify its foreign economic activity with countries such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia, as well as strengthen ties with Arab countries and Middle Eastern leading economies.
Climate change goals
Igbal Guliyev, the analyst at the MGIMO Center for Sustainable Development and expert with a Ph.D. in Economics, told local media that the development of renewable energy sources in Azerbaijan contributes to the achievement of the country's climate change goals.
He went on to say that the use of renewable energy sources, as well as the mandatory continuous improvement of energy efficiency, will help reduce domestic consumption of oil and gas.
"In terms of green energy policy, Azerbaijan has a clear vision, goals, and objectives. Azerbaijan supports the challenges and goals of the clean energy transition, clean energy technologies, hydrogen production, and efforts to strengthen the positions of renewable energy sources in the energy mix," he said.
Guliyev also emphasized that these areas are critical components of Azerbaijan's national priorities for social and economic development.
"The March 15 memorandum will make a significant contribution to the implementation of these priorities," he said.
Country’s renewable energy potential
One of the president's strategic goals for the country's energy development is the use of alternative energy sources.
Furthermore, Azerbaijan has ratified the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and committed to achieving a quantitative target of a 35-percent reduction in GHG emissions by 2030 compared to 1990.
Renewable energy currently accounts for 17 percent of total energy production in the country. The goal is to raise those percentages to 30 percent by 2030.
The potential of renewable energy sources in Azerbaijan is 27,000 MW, including 3,000 MW in wind energy, 23,000 MW in solar energy, 380 MW in biomass energy, and 520 MW in the energy of mountain rivers.
Azerbaijan is known as a reliable partner, fulfilling all its obligations to foreign partners, and has all the conditions and opportunities, both natural and technological, to turn the country into an exporter of not only oil and gas but also electricity.
Ayya Lmahamad is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @AyyaLmahamad
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