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Azerbaijan bets on green energy development in Karabakh – First State Program on “Great Return”

BAKU, Azerbaijan, After liberating its historical lands from Armenian occupation, Azerbaijan began to implement a large-scale “First State Program on the Great Return”. Within the framework of the program, the Government of Azerbaijan is working to restore the key energy infrastructure necessary for successful economic development in these territories. Along with traditional energy resources, Azerbaijan also pays great attention to the development of renewable energy sources. The Government aims to achieve a 30 percent share of renewable energy in the country’s total energy mix by 2030.


Thus, from 2023 through 2025, the Ministry of Energy of Azerbaijan will study and assess the prospects for the use of renewable energy, namely (hydropower, geothermal energy and bioenergy), as well as hydrogen technologies, energy and hydro-storage.


Among the largest projects is the construction of a 240 MW solar power plant in the Zangilan-Jabrayil zone together with BP. Another project, which is going to be implemented through private investments, is a wind power plant with a total capacity of about 400 MW in the Lachin or Kelbajar districts.


Meanwhile, the Ministry of Economy of Azerbaijan will be engaged in the attraction of private investments in reconstruction works and the construction of new hydropower plants. At the same time, “Azerenergy” JSC will be working on the restoration of decommissioned small hydroelectric power stations and, in total, will provide 23 small hydroelectric power stations by 2025. Thus, “Azerenergy” plans to build 28 new small hydropower stations from 2022 to 2025, while bringing the number of small hydropower stations to 37 by 2026. Also, the construction of the “Khudafarin” hydroelectric power station with a capacity of 100 MW and the “Gyz Galasi” hydroelectric power station with a capacity of 40 MW will be completed by 2025.


Also, the Ministry of Energy will implement pilot projects on green technologies in 2022-2023.


As Pier Paolo Raimondi, Research Fellow of the Energy, Climate and Resources Program at The Istituto Affari Internazionali, Italian international relations think tank, told Trend, Azerbaijan has a high potential in renewables development in terms of their diversification.


“Azerbaijan’s renewable potential is quite high, yet largely untapped. Furthermore, the country has a good potential in terms of numerous renewable sources (sun, wind, hydro, biomass and geothermal). Now, the country will need to dedicate financial resources and a regulatory framework that will encourage the development of such potential,” he said.


According to Raimondi, the establishment of such renewable energy hub in the South Caucasus, which Azerbaijan plans to create, may acquire high political significance. This could be a strategically important direction for international investment, as some European institutions are already considering.


The expert noted Raimondi noted the potential development of green hydrogen production in Azerbaijan with further export to Europe, which will contribute to strengthening the partnership between the EU and Azerbaijan.


“While electricity trade may contribute to strengthening the partnership between EU and Azerbaijan, long-distance electricity trade is quite challenging from the efficiency perspective. Instead, Azerbaijan could prefer to produce clean hydrogen and then export it to Europe through existing pipelines, after small technical and infrastructural adjustments,” he explained.


Having liberated its historical lands, Azerbaijan is carrying out enormous efforts to reintegrate these territories and to create new economic opportunities not only for itself but also for the countries of the wider region. European countries have repeatedly expressed their interest in renewable energy projects in Azerbaijan, which is also reflected in the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding between the EU and Azerbaijan. Thus, Azerbaijan’s potential in renewables could play a major role in the diversification of energy resources in Europe and in achieving its targets for reducing hydrocarbon emissions. By attracting large foreign investments in renewable energy projects, Azerbaijan will significantly strengthen the country’s economic potential, as well as ensure the energy security of its partners.


Source: Trend News Agency