Masdar to pursue wind energy and solar power in Armenia

Abu Dhabi’s clean energy company Masdar said it is pursuing renewable energy opportunities in Armenia, a nation with “considerable” potential for solar and wind energy development.

Masdar and Armenian National Interests Fund signed an agreement to explore collaboration in solar photovoltaic (PV) energy, onshore wind power and floating solar power, the company said in a statement.

“As the fastest growing economy in the Eurasian Economic Union, backed by an increasingly open and supportive regulatory environment, Armenia is a promising location for investment in both solar and wind energy,” Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, chief executive of Masdar, said.

Masdar, wholly-owned by Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Company, is expanding its clean energy projects as it plans to double its renewable energy capacity in five years with new projects in Asia and the Americas, Reuters reported in January, citing Mr Al Ramahi.

Armenia is already a significant producer of hydroelectric power, as many of the country’s more than 200 rivers and lakes are suitable for floating solar power projects, according to Masdar.

Much of Armenia is also ideal for wind farm development, as it gets wind speeds of 8.5 metres per second and above.

The country also receives an estimated 1720 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of solar energy per square metre, compared with an average of 1,000kWh per square metre in Europe.

Armenia is aiming to generate more than a quarter of its domestic power needs from renewable energy sources by 2025, and is capping carbon emissions at 633 million metric tonnes of CO2 equivalent between 2015 and 2050, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

“This agreement is the first of many on a government-to-government level between the UAE and Armenia,” David Papazian, chief executive of the Armenian National Interests Fund, said.

The president of Armenia, Armen Sarkissian, conducted a state visit to the UAE in January.

“Since elevating the relationship between the UAE and Armenia in January, it is symbolic that our first investment agreement is about renewables,” Mr Papazian said.

Abu Dhabi’s push into renewables is part of the country’s target to diversify its energy sources. The UAE plans to meet 7 per cent of its power needs from solar by 2020.