Azerbaijan, Baku, Oct. 14 / Trend /
Trend commentator Emil Ismayilov
Azerbaijan is the world's largest oil and gas producer. The increase in power generating capacity will allow Azerbaijan to turn into a country exporting electric power. This will more strengthen its positions in the energy market in the region and Europe.
Azerbaijan has significantly operated in electrical power engineering. About 11 electric power stations (nine thermal and two hydroelectric power stations) have been built for the last five years. It increased the energy capacity by 1,500 megawatts. At present, there are more than 200 substations with capacity of 500, 330, 220 and 110 kilovolts, as well as six hydroelectric power stations and 13 thermal power stations on the balance of the company.
"Azerenergy" (production and distribution of electric power in Azerbaijan) has recently announced about the plans to increase the energy capacity by more than 1,400 megawatts by late 2012.
"At present, Azerbaijan's energy capacity hits 6,500 megawatts," the company investment department head Rafael Abbasov previously said. "This gives reason to consider the country as the one having the largest energy potential in the region. The energy capacity of the country is planned to be increased by 1,400 megawatts by late 2012."
The company actively operates in the development of alternative and renewable energy sources in the country. The company plans to build 280 small hydropower stations. About 36 stations will be built and commissioned in the nearest future. The development of small hydropower stations will ensure the development and the needs for electric power throughout the country.
Azerbaijan pays great attention to minimize the impact on the environment. In particular, at present, Azerenergy's power generating capacity has been fully converted to use gas as fuel.
Today, Azerenergy is in the top 50 biggest energy producing companies in Europe on power generation. The company is among the top five companies on the fuel volumes used to produce 1 kilowatt / hour of electric power.
Earlier, Azerbaijan exported electric power from neighboring countries. At present, the country fully meets its own needs and exports electric power. This was possible thanks to the work carried out in the country while creating additional capacity and reconstruction of old ones.
Despite the impressive capacity of energy system, it remains partially engaged, even though a part of the generated electric power is exported. The unresolved issues with the infrastructure do not allow exporting large amounts of energy.
Azerbaijan provides flow of electric power with neighboring countries - Russia, Iran, Turkey and Georgia on a regular basis. For example, the country provided Russia with electric power worth 342.9 million kilowatt / hours to the amount of $21.8 million for seven months of this year.
The operations are conducted within the Energy Bridge project to resolve problems with the electric power transmission and supply from Azerbaijan to Turkey and the European market.
The participants are Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey. Georgia has already started constructing a 10-kilometer section of the Gardabani-Samukh 500-kilowatt transmission line linking Georgia and Azerbaijan. The work must be completed by the end of this year.
Azerenergy operates within the 500-kilovolt power lines restoration from Mingachevir to the border with Georgia.
It is assumed that it will be technically possible to export electric power from Azerbaijan to Georgia and Turkey in spring 2012.
The establishment of the Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey energy bridge will give the country an opportunity to transport electric power with capacity of 600-700 MW to Europe.
The operations are underway within the project for synchronizing the energy systems of Azerbaijan, Iran and Russia. The implementation of this project will enhance Azerbaijan's significance not only as an exporter of electric power, but also as a transit country.
The accelerated development rates of Azerbaijan's economy, the development of oil and gas sector in the country have created the conditions for the non-oil sector development, and in particular one of the capital-intensive sectors - power engineering.
The energy sector development is essential, from the point of view of reducing the dependence of Azerbaijan's economy from oil and gas revenues. The increase of power plants, the implementation of major international projects in electric power transportation will allow Azerbaijan to further strengthen its own energy security and ensure energy security in the region.