President Ilham Aliyev receives head of Azerbaijan’s AzerEnergy OJSC (PHOTO) (UPDATE)

Details added (first version posted on Dec. 16 at 17:29)

BAKU, Azerbaijan, Dec. 16


President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has received president of AzerEnergy Open Joint Stock Company Baba Rzayev.

Noting the increase in electricity production and generation capacity in the country, President Ilham Aliyev said:

- Many power plants have been built in recent years. At present, Azerbaijan fully provides itself with electricity. At the same time, we have export opportunities. This year, by taking important steps, we launched new generation facilities. First of all, the launch of the “Shimal-2” power plant is a significant event. The station was opened with my participation in September. The 400-megawatt station has significantly increased our energy potential. Fuel consumption is very low. Therefore, this station meets all standards. Several months have passed now, so what can you say about the operation of the station?

Baba Rzayev: Mr. President, as you noted, on your direct instruction, we set up a large group to launch this station. We analyzed it and put this 400-megawatt thermal power plant into operation with your participation on 5 September of this year. As you noted, this is the only substation in the South Caucasus that consumes 214-216 grams of standard fuel depending on the mode. So it is very economical, its efficiency is 57.4 percent, and 3.2 billion kilowatt/hours of energy are produced per year.

President Ilham Aliyev: What level does the station operate now at? What is its full capacity?

Baba Rzayev: It operates at full capacity. Depending on the mode, we load 380 megawatts. It currently operates at 380 megawatts.

President Ilham Aliyev: Very good! This greatly enhances our energy potential and will meet our growing needs. At the same time, at the beginning of the year, I asked you to carry out repairs and maintenance at the “Azerbaijan” thermal power plant. Overhaul was to be carried out and completed on five out of eight units. What is the state of affairs in this area?

Baba Rzayev: Mr. President, overhaul on five blocks has already been completed. In addition, as I reported, the 500-kilovolt open switchgear has been reconstructed and more than 80 percent of the work has been completed on the 330-kilovolt switchgear. This will enable us to completely prevent breakdowns.

Mr. President, I want to report to you that the foundation of this station was laid by the great leader. He managed to secure this project in the Soviet Union and place it in Azerbaijan – albeit with great difficulties. And you gave this station a second life. This caused a great deal of enthusiasm among the residents of Mingachevir. The thermal power station "Azerbaijan" and the Mingachevir hydroelectric power station employ more than 1,600 people. They had already lost hope, thinking that the stations had become obsolete and there would be no jobs there after three to five years. But they see the current situation and know that it will be possible to work there for another 20-30 years.

President Ilham Aliyev: That's right! Unfortunately, in former times, the station largely lost its potential. Therefore, I asked the new leadership of AzerEnergy to restoring the lost capacity. At that time, it was calculated that the electricity potential of at least 300 megawatts should be restored. What steps have been taken in this direction and what is expected next year?

Baba Rzayev: Mr. President, 200 megawatts have already been restored, and we expect not 300 but 400 megawatts, perhaps even a little more. We expect 400 megawatts in summer. And in winter, we expect an increase of up to 500-550 megawatts.

President Ilham Aliyev: So the other three units will also be repaired?

Baba Rzayev: Yes, completely. The main thing is that we have completely reconstructed its cooling system and the area where all the chemical agents are located. We will completely reconstruct the units themselves, the generator, turbines and boilers. We began to rebuild the auxiliary installation and all the buildings practically from scratch.

President Ilham Aliyev: This is very important because it is our strategic facility. The breakdown that occurred last summer cost us very dearly, of course. Our people, who were stuck in the subway, and industrial enterprises were affected. Therefore, a commission was established to investigate the causes of the accident, and all the officials who committed negligence and violations were sacked. Therefore, as the main task set before the new leadership of AzerEnergy was the restoration of the Mingachevir power plant, which is our strategic facility, and insurance against accidents. At the same time, the construction of the “Shimal-2” station with a capacity of 400 megawatts in Baku serves a more even distribution of energy in the country.

After the accident, I ordered to install generators at all our underground stations. The main purpose of generators is to allow trains to reach the apron and provide the movement of escalators in the event of an accident. Where are we with the installation of generators? Has this work been completed or not?

Baba Rzayev: Mr. President, let me report that this work has been completed by 100 percent. The central control panel is already located in the main office of the Baku Underground, where handover work has been completed. A total of 17 generators with a capacity of 2,500, 2,000 and 1,000 kilovolts have been installed at 10 substations and a new power source of 39 megawatts has been created and transferred to the reserve. Work has been completed at the highest level.

President Ilham Aliyev: Great! There is another issue that should always be in the spotlight. It is the creation of renewable energy. I am glad that foreign investors are also showing great interest in this area. The Ministry of Energy of Azerbaijan is dealing with this issue now, a tender has been announced and companies with extensive experience in this field are participating. In other words, it is gratifying that companies interested in investing in Azerbaijan are competing with each other. We used to try to convince investors to invest in Azerbaijan but now they are showing interest themselves. We must determine the winner of the tender on the basis of open and transparent bidding. This is gratifying because we are talking about the construction of renewable energy plants with a capacity of approximately 400-500 megawatts. At the same time, I attended the opening of a state-owned wind farm in Azerbaijan. The capacity of the station is 50 megawatts. How does it work today? Are you planning to build an additional station?

Baba Rzayev: Mr. President, as you have already noted, the Yashma wind farm with a capacity of 50 megawatts operates at full capacity. In 2018, we achieved production of 60 million and in 2019 of 80 million kilowatt/hours of energy. We already have data for today. This means saving of about 13-14 million cubic meters of gas. There is a great need for this. On your instruction, all design estimates for the 84-megawatt Shurabad wind farm to the right of the Baku-Guba highway between the old and new roads have already been prepared, issues of land acquisition and power lines have been resolved, Vestas has been involved to this work.

President Ilham Aliyev: So can we start work next year?

Baba Rzayev: Yes, we will be able to start work next year.

President Ilham Aliyev: Very good, there is a need for that because our generating capacities exceed domestic needs. This is natural because there should always be a reserve. In addition, the conditions we have created allow us the opportunity to export electricity, and today this sector brings currency to our country. There should be both exports and domestic needs must be addressed. At the same time, we need to know that domestic needs are growing and will continue to grow. First of all, the growing population dictates the need for commissioning new capacities, of course. On the other hand, the number of foreign visitors to our country exceeds 3 million this year. Therefore, the energy potential of the service sector should be increased, of course. And, of course, the main issue is the growing industry. This year, industrial production in our non-oil sector increased by 14 percent. Today we are implementing other projects related to industrialization. Industrial parks, industrial estates, new industrial enterprises are being set up. All of them require energy. Therefore, we must take strategic steps so that the needs of Azerbaijan, including those related to industrial production, are always met by generating capacities, substations and power lines, so that there are no problems. Just like there are no problems today. Therefore, I am sure that AzerEnergy and its entire team will continue to fulfill their service duty with dignity and energy stability will always be ensured in Azerbaijan.

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