Resource-rich Azerbaijan also has a wealth of favorable climates that can enlarge the energy sources of the country.
Azerbaijan, which is turning from oil-based economy to the non-oil sector, is now developing alternative ways of power production.
Some regions of the country are prospective in terms of developing wind and solar energy, the most common alternative energy sources in Azerbaijan.
The share of alternative energy sources in the total energy production, including small hydro power plants in the country, is currently two percent.
Azerbaijan plans to increase the figure to 20 percent by 2020.
The territories that are promising in terms of developing wind energy are located on the coast of the Caspian Sea, from northern Shabran to Sumgait, the Gobustan district, the Absheron peninsula, and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.
Moreover, the whole Kur-Araz lowland area, Absheron peninsula, Gobustan district and Nakhchivan AR, the sunniest areas of Azerbaijan with 250-300 sunny days a year, have good potentials for solar energy production.
The share of solar energy in the total volume of alternative energy in Azerbaijan is estimated to reach 40 percent, while the wind power will hit 28 percent by 2020.
The State Agency for Renewable & Alternative Energy Sources (ABEMDA) told AzerNews that the alternative energy sector will continue its development this year.
“The construction and equipping the solar power station with an initial capacity of 2.8 megawatts has started in the framework of building the Aqroenerji complex in the Samukh region,” the agency said.
The first step of the complex construction is building a new settlement for 300 families and providing over 2,000 people with work.
The settlements will be provided with the needed infrastructure for the supply of ecologically harmless power of the sun, wind, geothermal, and biogas energy sources.
In addition, gyms equiped with alternative energy sources will be opened in the Siyazan and Shaki regions, while hybrid power stations, each with 10 MW capacity, will be built in Nakhchivan AR, Neftchala, Oghuz, Gadabay, and Balakan, the agency said.
The agency plans to build solar power stations with a total capacity of 2,065 MW, solar heating power stations with a total capacity of 4,500 MW, biomass stations with a total capacity of 515 MW, wind power stations with a total capacity of 512.5 MW, and small water electric stations with a total capacity of 60 MW in 2014-2020.
Current alternative energy power plants are also forging ahead. The landfill on alternative sources of energy in the Gobustan region has started delivering energy to Gobustan by means of a “smart network” system, which will automatically control the production-consumption regime of the ABEMDA’s energy in Azerbaijani regions.
The Gobustan landfill will supply the whole Gobustan region with energy power in the future. For this purpose, additional solar panels with 1.2 MW capacities will be installed in the landfill.
Azguntex Azerbaijan, the company that produces solar panels, plans to produce 400,000 panels a year in the future, which will be installed at education, health protection, culture, and sport facilities in Baku and across the country.
Azguntex is expecting to install the second line capable of producing 25 MW or 100,000 panels in the second quarter of 2014.
Pleasant variety of sources
Besides solar and wind energy, Azerbaijan can also enjoy geothermal energy.
ABEMDA plans to complete the realization of a project provided as part of the construction of geothermal power plants in 2015. The project’s coverage area includes Khachmaz, Lankaran, Masalli, and other regions of Azerbaijan.
There is also a great potential for hybrid power stations in Azerbaijan, and the alternative energy company plans to have hybrid power plants in the majority of Azerbaijani cities by 2020.
Ecologically friendly energy
The usage of alternative sources of energy contributes to cutting carbon emissions.
Monitoring 1,879 enterprises in Azerbaijan in 2013 revealed that emission allowances were exceeded in every fourth company in terms of water resources pollution, and in every fifth company in terms of air pollution.
Notwithstanding the fact that Azerbaijan is believed to produce 0.1 percent of the worldwide greenhouse gas emissions, Azerbaijani scientists associate the increase of global warming, and in particular in Azerbaijan, with these emissions.
Alternative sources of energy can help Azerbaijani people to improve ecological situation in the country in this regard as well.
The construction work on ten small hydropower plants with a total capacity of 14.3 MW was conducted in the country in 2013. Moreover, the construction of two small hydropower plants in Goychay-1 (3.3 MW) and Ismayilli-1(1.6 MW) was completed, report of the Azerbaijani government for 2013 said.
The document states that the second combined-cycle plant (409 MW) is planned to be commissioned in the Shimal power plant in Azerbaijan in late 2014.
The construction of the second combined cycle plant is important for strengthening energy security in the Absheron peninsula. The electricity power station meets a quarter of the demand in Baku and Absheron at present.
The figure will reach 35-40 percent with the construction of the second block. The construction of the second unit is conducted under a contract concluded with the Japanese Toyo Engineering Company.
There is one combined cycle tribune at the Shimal power plant (North SDPP) with a capacity of 400 MWat present.
Over 2 billion kW/h electricity export possibility
Azerbaijan’s energy capacity grew by 12.9 percent and reached 7,100 MW last year, the report said. The power grid allows for the production of 22-24 billion kWh of electricity, and ensures the export of 2.1 billion kWh.
“The development of the energy complex in 2013 continued at a rapid pace due to the ongoing economic reforms in the country that allowed for further strengthening of energy security,” the report notes.
The total amount of electricity produced in Azerbaijan is about 23.2 billion kWh, about 20.8 billion kWh of which accounted for Azerenergy company, the largest producer of electricity in Azerbaijan, and about 748.4 million kWh accounted for State Energy Agency of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. Furthermore, about 1.67 billion kWh accounted for independent power plants, including 1.4 million kWh provided by means of wind energy regeneration.
Azerenergy generated more than 21.5 billion kWh of electricity in 2013, compared to about 21.3 billion kWh over the same period in 2012.
The capacity of power stations owned by Azerenergy exceeds 6,500 MW. It has over 200 substations with a capacity of 500, 330, 220, and 110 kilovolt amperes, as well as eight hydro and 13 thermo power stations.