European Commission to work closely with COP29 Presidency team to make it success – Commissioner Kadri Simson (Exclusive interview)

Green Economy Materials 22 February 2024 08:14 (UTC +04:00)
European Commission to work closely with COP29 Presidency team to make it success – Commissioner Kadri Simson (Exclusive interview)
Laman Zeynalova
Laman Zeynalova
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BAKU, Azerbaijan, February 22. The European Commission will be working closely with the COP29 Presidency team to make the Baku COP29 a success, EU Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson said in an exclusive interview with Trend on the occasion of the upcoming Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council’s meeting in Baku March 1.

“We welcome that Azerbaijan joined at COP28 the Global Pledge to triple renewable capacity and double energy efficiency gains worldwide by 2030. This was an important milestone in the implementation our energy partnership. We will be working closely with the COP29 Presidency team to implement the Pledge and to make the Baku COP29 a success,” she said.

Simson noted that at the second Green Energy Advisory Council the focus will be on the development of the vast offshore wind and solar energy capacities in Azerbaijan, as well as development of physical interconnections and market integration at regional level.

“The upcoming meetings in Baku will be an opportunity for European officials and companies to engage further with partners on the development of offshore wind energy capacity and to facilitate investment by European businesses into the Azerbaijani market. In this context, we are encouraging Azerbaijan’s authorities to proceed as soon as possible with the implementation of an open and transparent auctioning regime for renewable energy projects,” the commissioner added.

Kadri Simson went on to add that the meeting of the Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council offers an opportunity to discuss the capacity expansion of the pipeline, which represents for a crucial route of gas supply diversification.

“We will also discuss the role of the Southern Gas Corridor in supporting coal phase out and diversification efforts of the EU neighboring countries. This discussion is key in addressing regional and global energy security challenges. Crucially, along with the SGC Advisory Council, a second Green Energy Advisory Council will also be convened, following on from the successful experience of 2023. It will address the promotion of renewable energy generation, energy efficiency, and renewable hydrogen, which are significant pillars of the EU-Azerbaijan energy partnership. To move to practical arrangements, the representatives of the EU wind sector will travel with me to Baku, to discuss in the margins of the Green Energy Advisory Council with the Azeri side the scope for investments into wind energy in Azerbaijan. Overall, the Green Energy Advisory Council will also provide a great opportunity to discuss the upcoming COP29,” she added.

Expansion of the Southern Gas Corridor

The commissioner noted that Azerbaijan has a significant role in supporting Europe’s efforts to diversify away from Russian fuels.

“Azerbaijani natural gas supplies to the EU market reached 11.8 billion cubic meters in 2023, up from 8.1 in 2021, and we are both committed to increase bilateral trade to 20 billion cubic meters per year by 2027. The Advisory Council meeting will be an opportunity to discuss the necessary infrastructure upgrades along the Southern Gas Corridor,” she said.

Simson pointed out that for midstream infrastructure upgrades, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development might have a role to play when there will be a clear project on the table, and in a context of decarbonization commitments in line with Paris Agreement goals and plans to address methane leakage.

New contracts for gas supply

She noted that the European Commission aims to facilitate energy trade with Azerbaijan, but it is not a party to such contracts.

“The conclusion of gas supply contracts is up to companies. On our side, we continue to engage with our Azerbaijani counterparts to foster cooperation and ensure we have a conducive business environment for a stable energy relationship. We also encourage EU companies to engage in gas supply agreements with Azerbaijan. However, the final decision on the signature rests with the private operators,” the commissioner explained.

Azerbaijan-EU green corridor

“We are following with great interest the initiative of laying out a high-voltage direct current bidirectional interconnector under the Black Sea between Georgia and Romania. A feasibility study is ongoing,” she said.

Simson pointed out that this project is already included in Ten-Year Network Development Plan of the European Network of Transmission System Operators for electricity.

“It is also included as a flagship project under the EU Global Gateway strategy. This is an important first project, and a broader green energy corridor is envisaged, including possible trade in hydrogen from renewable sources. We welcome that more countries have signaled interest in joining this initiative and encourage them to improve the business case for the green energy corridor thus increasing the mutual gains of the initiative,” added the commissioner.

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