Armenia concerned about weak energy security

Photo: Armenia concerned about weak energy security / Armenia

By Jamila Babayeva

Armenia is keen to improve its energy security by diversifying energy sources and is exploring ways for this aim with international organizations.

The government's attempts to diversify energy sources have failed so far because the country's energy security fully depends on Russia.

Armenia sees no progress in the implementation of energy projects which are vitally important for the post-Soviet state.

Armenia's great hope for bright energy future is fading as its plans to construct a new power transmission line with Iran are unlikely to come true. The two neighboring countries had to suspend the construction of the third 400-kilovolt transmission line due to financing problems resulted from Western sanctions imposed on Iran.

Armenia and Iran reached a 107.9 million euro agreement on construction of the third transmission line in 2004.

The Export Development Bank of Iran acts as a major source of financing for the project, which is aimed at facilitating the Armenian electricity supply in exchange of Iranian gas.

Armenia hopes that Iran will overcome the problems related to the project. Armenia's new energy minister is set to visit Iran in near future to discuss the problematic issues.

Armenia also expects to construct a transmission line with a 400-kilovolt capacity connecting it to neighboring Georgia through funding from the German bank KfW. The construction work is expected to start in 2014.

Armenia's larger dependence on Russian energy has turned into a big concern for local MPs.

"Our economy now depends on the diameter of the gas pipeline from Russia," independent MP Khachatur Kokobelyan said recently during a parliamentary discussion.

In response, Deputy Energy Minister Ara Simonyan said that fortunately, Armenia has a second gas pipeline with Iran. He reminded that Armenia immediately activated gas cooperation with Iran some days ago when gas supply from Russia was stopped due to a landslide in Georgia.

Armenia still has some independent energy sources such as an outdated nuclear power plant, some hydro power plants, and a gas pipeline from Iran. Local media believe that Russia methodically neutralizes these factors to ensure full control over Armenia's energy system.

Armenia, neighboring with the regional leader in the energy field, Azerbaijan, cannot benefit from large-scale regional energy projects due to its non-peaceful position in the South Caucasus region.

Armenia pursues some aggressive policies in the region including keeping under occupation 20 percent of Azerbaijan's lands which hamper its involvement in the regional projects.

Turkey also keeps Armenia isolated from regional energy projects. Yerevan's aggressive policy towards Azerbaijan and groundless claim on the so-called genocide has hindered the Armenian-Turkey economic relations.

Azernews

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