BAKU, Azerbaijan, January 17. Within the framework of the visit of President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev to the UAE’s Abu Dhabi on January 15, the two countries took another very important step towards strengthening cooperation in the field of alternative energy.
The State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (SOCAR) and the UAE’s Masdar company signed an Agreement on the joint development of offshore wind energy and hydrogen projects with a capacity of 2 GW, as well as joint development of 1 GW solar photovoltaic energy, and 1 GW onshore wind energy projects.
These agreements will further strengthen cooperation between Azerbaijan and the UAE, as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Azerbaijan, increase use of renewable energy sources and contribute to the sustainable economic development of the country.
As President Ilham Aliyev said on January 16 at the official opening ceremony of the Abu Dhabi Sustainable Development Week, this is only a short-term project.
“Mid-term projects will increase the volume up to 10 gigawatts. This is absolutely doable. We have a roadmap for that. This project, only this project, our cooperation with MASDAR will transform Azerbaijan into a very important source of green energy exports,” President Ilham Aliyev said.
Meanwhile, Masdar, being the largest company in the UAE in the field of renewable energy, is currently implementing the Garadagh solar power plant project with a capacity of 230 MW in Azerbaijan.
Last year the "Strategy of socio-economic development of the Republic of Azerbaijan for 2022-2026" was approved by the order of President Ilham Aliyev, and, according to this strategy, great attention is paid to the development of alternative energy in the country.
As President Ilham Aliyev said in his speech in Abu Dhabi yesterday, Azerbaijan has not been developing renewable energy sources in order to ensure only its own energy security.
"We did it many years ago. Today, Azerbaijan not only satisfies its all needs with energy, but also is exporting crude oil, oil products, natural gas, petrochemicals and electricity. Our program with respect to renewables has completely different agenda. First, because it’s an enormous potential. Second, because it will help us to diversify our export and, of course, it will create a new ecologically-friendly sector of our economy," President Ilham Aliyev said.
Energy is traditionally one of the most essential sectors of Azerbaijan's economy. This sector is expected to have great changes in 2023: Azerbaijan is intensively developing a new and highly promising field - renewable energy. President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev pays close attention to the mentioned field, and foreign investors have already invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the Azerbaijani economy.
The potential of Azerbaijan in the field of alternative energy is great, and is the highest in the region. The potential of wind and solar energy on land is 27 GW. In the liberated territories of Azerbaijan, this indicator is 10 GW. In addition, the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea has a potential of 157 GW of wind power.
Moreover, the abovementioned strategy envisages sufficiently ambitious plans for green energy, such as the development of the energy hub Azerbaijan (Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic) - Türkiye - Europe by 2026. As part of the project, a HVDC (high voltage direct current) transformer substation and a two-chain power line (400 kV) of 230 km will also be built. This will allow the direct export of electricity to Türkiye.
In addition, during this period, alternative energy infrastructure will be expanded through public-private partnerships. The involvement of the private sector in this energy infrastructure will be encouraged. The construction and commissioning of an approved number of renewable energy power plants will also be ensured. Thus, it is planned to increase the share of renewable energy in the total electricity generation.
If only a couple of years ago energy specialists were disputing the necessity to invest huge funds in a field that didn't seem so important, today the significance of renewable sources of energy is obvious. Thus, Azerbaijan as well, despite having large oil and gas reserves, is investing in the development of alternative energy, relying not only on traditional sources, but also on advanced fields.
The development costs in the alternative energy sector will decrease as the time goes on - due not only to global trend of reducing costs for this field, but also because of the work that is being carried out and will be carried out in Azerbaijan in the field of establishing the production of key equipment and technologies.
The most crucial factor in Azerbaijan's future development of renewable energy is the policy pursued under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev. Owing to the attention and efforts of the President Ilham Aliyev, Azerbaijan has achieved significant success in development of the business environment. This resulted in a huge flow of the world's biggest corporations ready to invest huge amounts of funds in promising projects not only in the field of energy, but also in other economic sectors of Azerbaijan. Stability, an excellent business and investment climate, and the serious political will demonstrated by the country's leadership are the keys to the success of the Azerbaijani economy.