Demand for electricity is growing in Azerbaijan and this process is expected to continue, Report informs, citing Professor of the Azerbaijan State University of Economics (UNEC) Elshad Mammadov.

According to him, it is necessary to consistently increase the production of alternative energy: “We will be able to receive more economic dividends by gradually directing the resources used in the production of traditional energy to gas processing.”

On January 13, a ceremony was held in the Gulistan Palace in honor of the laying of the foundation of the Khizi-Absheron wind power plant with a capacity of 240 MW, which will be built in Azerbaijan by the Saudi company ACWA Power.

At the groundbreaking ceremony, President Ilham Aliyev noted that Azerbaijan fully meets domestic demand, while at the same time, it is exporting electricity to all neighboring countries:

“This opportunity is created for us by high-voltage power lines connecting us with neighboring countries, and if necessary, new lines will be laid. Because the demand for electricity in the regional countries, as well as in Europe, is growing. Some countries have decided to close nuclear power plants, and we are also seeing the process of closing coal-fired power plants. At the same time, the Green Agenda was approved, which is, one might say, at the head of the world agenda, and we, in turn, declared the liberated territories – an area of 10,000 square kilometers – a ‘green energy’ zone. We have already built several hydroelectric power plants and they are operating. We have specific plans for the construction of solar and wind power plants.

“In short, the establishment of this wind farm is in many ways an extremely important and significant project. This is an excellent indicator. It is also a signal for other potential investors to take certain steps without wasting time. I must also say that the world’s largest companies are showing great interest in Azerbaijan’s renewable energy potential.

“At present, the Azerbaijani Energy Ministry is negotiating with several leading world companies, and, I repeat, this is a combination of various factors. And stability, calm in our country, and very positive opinions in the world associated with our country, that is, opinions that reflect the truth, the predictability of our policy and at the same time, a strong industrial potential, economic independence, ensuring energy security and trained human resources – that is, these are the main factors. These factors are of great importance for any investor.”

E. Mammadov noted that it is necessary to achieve an increase in the share of alternative generation, including wind energy: “This does not mean that we should gradually pursue a policy aimed at the complete rejection of traditional energy resources, at least in the coming decades. Unfortunately, these ideas are often heard. I think that this is fundamentally wrong. Here we must definitely strive to address the issues of providing additional generation and meeting the growing energy needs in the country.”

A memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the field of offshore wind energy was signed between the Azerbaijani Energy Ministry and ACWA Power of Saudi Arabia as part of the groundbreaking ceremony for the 240 MW Khizi-Absheron wind farm. The document was signed by Deputy Energy Minister Elnur Soltanov and ACWA Power Investment Director Clive Turton.

The memorandum provides for cooperation in defining the basic principles of cooperation in the field of offshore wind energy, assessing the potential, and creating conditions for profitable investments in renewable energy projects in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan is currently cooperating with ACWA Power on a 240 MW Khizi-Absheron wind farm project with an investment cost of $300 million.