BAKU, Azerbaijan, Jan. 7
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has received Vugar Ahmadov on the occasion of his appointment as chairman of the Azerishig Open Joint Stock Company.
Speaking at the meeting, President Ilham Aliyev said:
- I am appointing you to the post of chairman of the Azerishig Joint-Stock Company. I want to express my confidence that you will treat this position responsibly.
This is a very responsible position, because energy supply is a strategic sector for any country. In recent years, a lot has been done in this area in our country. The creation of generation capacities was envisaged under the first state program on the socioeconomic development of the regions adopted in 2004. We have already fully achieved this. Today we have an additional energy capacity of about 1,000 megawatts, which make up a reserve and also expand our export potential. Last year, our country received about $60 million from electricity exports.
This work is underpinned by the creation of generating capacities. Over the past 15 years, we have created about 3,000 megawatts of new generating capacity and built numerous power plants. Thus, Azerbaijan has become one of the leading countries in the world in this field. At the same time, much attention was paid to the reconstruction and laying of distribution lines. Of course, the distribution network must meet modern standards, which is one of the key issues on our agenda. There was a time when power supply of our country was in the hands of private companies, and this practice did not justify itself. On the contrary, it created great problems for us. Some people have forgotten that TV channels used to be turned off at night due to a lack of electricity. Electricity supply of Baku was in a deplorable state. “Barmek”, which monopolized energy supply in Baku, completely disabled the energy economy. Many have forgotten that period. I remember it well. It was on my decision and instruction that the unsatisfactory work of foreign businessmen was thoroughly analyzed. The energy supply of Baku was returned to the state and Azerishig was established. It was me who named this Joint-Stock Company Azerishig. Since that time, the state has allocated large funds for this area and managed to create a serious turnaround. Energy sustainability is fully ensured in Azerbaijan today.
But despite all these positive aspects, there have been major flaws and miscalculations. Otherwise, we would not have experienced the breakdown in 2018. The analysis carried out after the breakdown showed that it had happened solely as a result of negligence and irresponsibility. It was informed in detail with pictures and evidence about the terrible state of our Mingachevir thermal power plant. These pictures are horrifying. Incredible negligence and incredible irresponsibility! Therefore, the leadership of AzerEnerji was replaced in full.
Five blocks of the Mingachevir Thermal Power Plant were overhauled. It is safe to say that they were reconstructed. The lost capacity was restored. We recovered approximately 400 megawatts of the lost capacity. In other words, our existing power plants lost these capacities precisely because of irresponsibility and unprofessional work. As a result of repairs, we restored 400 megawatts of power without building new stations. On the remaining three blocks of the Mingachevir Thermal Power Plant, reconstruction will be carried out in 2020 and additional generating capacities will be obtained.
In parallel with this, the Shimal-2 power station with a capacity of 400 megawatts was commissioned in 2019. This factor also significantly strengthens our energy potential. At the same time, we are now seriously developing renewable energy. A 50-megawatt wind farm is already operational. Today, private foreign companies show great interest in this area, want to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in this sector, and we appreciate that.
Thus, in order to meet our growing needs in the coming years, it is necessary to create new stations and inspect existing plants that provide electricity, build new substations and repair existing ones. We are doing and will continue to do all this work in a consistent manner. Azerishig should also be guided by the most modern principles in its work. All our energy facilities must meet high standards. It is necessary to ensure the sustainability of electricity – from generation to the last point – people’s apartments.
As part of numerous trips to the regions, I have taken part in the opening of a number of power plants and substations. I am always interested in how things are going with electricity in the districts. In recent years, a very large turnaround has been observed in this area, and this process will be continued. There is still an energy infrastructure in need of repair. We will consistently resolve these issues so that there are no problems in this area.
The growing population and industrial potential of our country dictates the need for this area always to be in the spotlight. Therefore, when I started working as president, a lot of attention among infrastructure projects was primarily given to this particular sector. On my instruction and under my control, several power plants were built in the regions. We have built the “Khachmaz”, “Shahdag”, “Astara”, “Sheki” and “Baku” stations in order to have and increase generating capacities in each region. The “Janub” power plant with a generating capacity of about 800 megawatts was built in the city of Shirvan. The “Shimal-1” and “Shimal-2” power plants were commissioned. All this requires a lot of work and foresight. At one time, we depended on imports, but now we provide ourselves with electricity and even export it. Export is possible only if domestic needs are fully met. We have been able to achieve this.
It is no coincidence that the Davos World Economic Forum praised the work done in this area. In terms of the access to electricity, the Davos Forum has awarded Azerbaijan the first place in the CIS, while on the global scale we are in second place. By this indicator, we have overtaken the most developed countries of the world. The main goal of the production and distribution of electricity is to deliver it to enterprises and people. This is what accessibility means. So energy is available to people and enterprises, and by this indicator we are in second place in the world. This is the result of our work. But we cannot be complacent with the successes achieved. Both AzerEnerji and Azerishig have major tasks. I am sure that these tasks will be fulfilled in a consistent manner and thus the provision of electricity will always be at a high level.
Vugar Ahmadov: Mr. President, let me express my deep appreciation for the high confidence placed in me. I will try to justify this high confidence with my own work.
Mr. President, the work you are doing in the power engineering sector, as in other areas, is obvious. As you have said, the Azerishig Joint-Stock Company established four years ago has done large-scale work thanks to you. Today, Azerishig Joint-Stock Company provides consumers with uninterrupted electricity by 100 percent. To date, more than 70 substations for 110 kilovolts and over 300 substations for 35 kilovolts have been built or overhauled. More than 1.2 million new meters have been installed, which has played an important part in preventing losses. The installed capacity of the network has been brought from 9,000 to 13,000 megawattamps. To eliminate the breakdowns, four remotely controlled automatic control centers have been created. The collection reached 95 percent. AzerEnerji payments have been secured by 100 percent.
Currently, work is under way on the distribution network of 56 districts to replace more than 13,500 transformer stations with new ones.
President Ilham Aliyev: Very good. A lot of work has really been done in this area, including the issue of non-payment which had turned into a major problem. There is no such problem now. You are paying AzerEnerji for energy in full and the collection rate is 95 percent. I think this is a good result.
Of course, in the future it is necessary to pay great attention especially to the energy sector in remote mountain villages, because as a result of the construction of new substations and transformers, we have resolved the problem in practically all our cities, but there are still old pylons in some villages. When traveling to these villages, I see that there are still wooden supports there. Additional measures must be taken to replace them with modern ones. Distribution lines have now been completely updated. Therefore, in order to maintain energy supply at the current level, we certainly need to be always active. “AzerIshig”, too, should pay attention to this work, because our needs are growing. In 2019, our non-oil industry increased by 14 percent. This means that additional energy capacities are required. I believe that connection to the network is at a high level. In some countries, this is turning into a major problem as emerging enterprises cannot connect to a common network. We do not have this problem. But our needs are increasing, the population is growing and will continue to grow. Today, our population has reached 10 million. Over the years, it will reach 11 and 12 million. So our network should be ready for this. Therefore, we allocate large funds in order to completely update the generating capacity. We are currently working with a surplus. However, our generating capacities must always be in a condition that would rule out a shortage in Azerbaijan. Of course, in order to maintain the energy infrastructure in good condition, all operating procedures must be completed at a high level. The breakdown of 2018 should be a good lesson. Measures taken in the aftermath of the breakdown are giving good results. As a result of a ring connection of substations, we insure ourselves against breakdowns and their consequences. A breakdown can occur in any country. The main thing is how long its consequences are eliminated. We have created a ring system so that energy supply can be arranged in a short time. I wish you success. I am sure that you will justify this high confidence.