Azerbaijan, Baku, September 26 /Trend/
Trend news agency expert Seymur Aliyev
Azerbaijan's energy sector has traditionally been the flagship of the country's economy. The republic established itself as a reliable supplier of oil and oil products long ago. In the coming years, the country will meet Europe's growing demand for gas. One of the promising areas of energy development is Azerbaijan's electricity sector.
"Around 2800 megawatts of new energy facilities have been created and 14 power plants constructed in Azerbaijan over the last 10 years. It can be said that 50 per cent of our available energy potential has been created in the past 10 years," President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev said at the opening of a new substation in Baku.
The country's demand for electricity rapidly grows with Azerbaijan's economic development.
"Azerbaijan's development is so swift that we will miss the current facilities after five to 10 years," the head of the state said.
However, now Azerbaijan has a standby capacity that can be used not only to meet growing domestic demand, but also for implementation of exports. Today, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey are implementing a project that will allow the export of electricity to Europe. There is a project for the synchronisation of electricity systems of Azerbaijan, Russia and Iran on the agenda.
Currently, the capacity of the republic's power system exceeds 6200 megawatts. This creates an opportunity for the production of 22-24 billion kilowatt/hours of electricity per year which exceeds the maximum demand of the country's electricity by 25-27 per cent.
However, Azerbaijan looks forward. Currently, construction of new hydropower plants and the second combined-cycle unit at the Shimal power plant continue in the country's regions.
Some 173 small hydropower plants, capable of producing a total of 3.2 billion kilowatt/hours of electricity per year will be constructed in Azerbaijan's rivers and water industry facilities in the future. In addition, the construction of hydroelectric power plants can solve three main issues of national importance: the regulation of mudslides, electricity generation and creation of new irrigation systems.
Azerbaijan also possesses significant reserves of geothermal waters and a high potential to use solar energy. The country plans to increase production capacity in all sources of alternative energy to 2000 megawatts by 2020.
However, a reliable supply to the population with electricity requires a large scale reconstruction of transmission networks in the country's regions.
"Today Azerenergy was instructed to bring the networks in the regions to a normal level, so there are no interruptions. Actually there should not be interruptions, as we have enough energy capacity. These arise from the fact that some of the network lines are out of order," the President of Azerbaijan said.
Creation of a reliable electricity system allows Azerbaijan to not only improve its own energy security, but also ensure the export of electricity, as well as the growing demands of the country's fast-growing economy
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