President Ilham Aliyev Champions Renewable Energy Development - Setting Major Climate Action Goals


(MENAFN- Trend News Agency) BAKU, Azerbaijan, February 15. Azerbaijan's success in the oil and gas industry could serve as a model for other countries coping with energy exports. Azerbaijan stands out for its aggressive participation in regional activities promoting clean energy. While Azerbaijan has established itself as a reliable source of conventional energy, the country is not taking a rest. The country's ambitious plans for exporting green energy are gathering traction and transforming into actual initiatives.

The start of exporting electricity from renewable sources ushers in a new era in Azerbaijan's energy strategy. President Ilham Aliyev has prioritized the expansion of renewable energy sources, seeking to increase their share of total electricity generation capacity to 30 percent by 2030.

In January 2024, Azerbaijan significantly increased its renewable energy production. Total renewable power generation, including hydro, reached 172.3 million kWh, a significant increase of 77.2 million kWh from January 2023 levels. That accounted for around 7 percent of the total electricity generated in the country that month. Breaking it down, we received 5.8 million kWh from wind farms and 18.2 million kWh from solar power plants.

As President Ilham Aliyev pointed out during his swearing-in ceremony on February 14, by the end of 2030, the majority of the electricity will be generated by renewable energy.

"Our plans call for Azerbaijan to generate around 5,000 megawatts of renewable energy, or new energy kinds, by the end of 2030, primarily through solar, wind, and hydropower projects. The sum I gave is totally feasible; it will be based on contracts that have already been signed. Protocols of intent show a larger figure of around 10,000 megawatts. As a result, we will be able to export a significant amount of our natural gas. It'll be saved," said President Ilham Aliyev.

Azerbaijan's total renewable energy potential surpasses 27 GW from onshore wind and solar, with 157 GW from wind energy in the Azerbaijani section of the Caspian Sea. By 2027, the country intends to generate 3 GW of wind and 1 GW of solar energy, with 80 percent of that designated for export. Azerbaijan plans to build at least 6 GW of additional capacity by 2037. Notably, a major global energy business has already pledged to invest 10 GW in green energy projects in Azerbaijan.

As part of its national policy, Azerbaijan's Ministry of Energy will research and evaluate the opportunities for renewable energy sources between 2023 and 2025. This covers research into hydropower, geothermal energy, biofuels, hydrogen technology, energy storage, and hydroaccumulation.

Azerbaijan is currently generating renewable energy through the 240 MW Khizi-Absheron wind power plant, which was built with Saudi ACWA Power support; the 230 MW Garadagh solar power plant in collaboration with Masdar in the UAE; the Shafag solar power plant in collaboration with bp, and the Khudafarin and Giz Galasi hydropower plants.

More agreements have been inked with Masdar, outlining the execution of green energy projects with a combined capacity of 1000 MW. These projects include constructing a 445 MW solar power plant in Bilasuvar, a 315 MW solar power plant in Neftchala, and a 240 MW wind power plant in Absheron-Garadagh.

Azerbaijan has inked memoranda of understanding and corresponding contracts with three major-league energy companies. According to their statements, the goal is to generate a whopping 25 GW of renewable solar and wind energy, covering both onshore and offshore projects. In this ambitious endeavor, Masdar is set to handle 10 GW, Fortescue is taking on 12 GW, and ACWA Power has pledged to contribute 2.5 GW of energy. This marks seriously substantial potential on the horizon.

On December 11, 2023, at the 28th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the global community came together and unanimously decided to throw COP29 in Azerbaijan in November 2024.

Now, what makes this COP29 special is that it's going to be put together by a country from the Eastern European Group. It's a real historical first, with all the big political shots giving a unanimous thumbs-up to Azerbaijan as the chosen host.

"We will also contribute to the climate change agenda, especially considering that this year Azerbaijan will host COP29, the largest international conference in the world. Therefore, our goals regarding renewable energy are clear. I must also state that all these projects are being implemented and will be implemented by foreign investors. If it is possible to say so, we are now observing a process of competition among foreign investors. Because so many countries want to invest in this field in Azerbaijan, we don't have such opportunities as yet," President Ilham Aliyev noted in this regard.

The year 2024 was declared by President Ilham Aliyev as the "Green World Solidarity Year". This means that the entire year ahead is gearing up for some fresh moves in the realm of renewable energy technology, major strides in the energy switch-up, and Azerbaijan stepping up alongside the big players in these arenas.

Some were critical of Baku's hosting of the COP summit, citing the country's reliance on hydrocarbons. However, this argument is not very strong. For the foreseeable future, the globe will continue to rely on oil and gas. However, how soon and smoothly the energy transfer occurs will be largely determined by the tiny moves taken by both heavyweights and local players.

Azerbaijan has rolled out the red carpet for international investors to invest in projects paving the way for a "clean" future. COP29 here serves as a venue for Azerbaijan to once again demonstrate its capabilities in this field. And those who doubt us will just have to sit back and watch us win.

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