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Azerbaijan Boosts Clean Energy Transition with Three Renewable Energy Projects

By Yaver Kazimbeyli June 7, 2024

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President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan and Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology at the groundbreaking of three renewable energy plants, Baku, Azerbaijan, June 4, 2024 / President.Az

Azerbaijan's green energy transition received a significant boost on Tuesday with the groundbreaking of three renewable energy plants, offering a collective capacity of 1 gigawatt.

On the sidelines of the Baku Energy Week, an international event dedicated to global energy discussions, President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan and Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, laid the foundation for two solar and one wind power plants.

The three projects include the 445MW Bilasuvar Solar PV Project, 315MW Neftchala Solar PV Project and the 240MW Absheron-Garadagh Onshore Wind Project. Investment agreements for the projects were reached in October 2023, followed by the signing of power purchase agreements, transmission connection agreements, and land lease agreements.

UAE-based Masdar and Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR also signed a shareholder agreement for the three projects.

“This is a demonstration of how Azerbaijan and its international partners transform from fossil fuels to renewables, understanding that fossil fuels will remain important not only for us but also for our partners for many years,” President Aliyev said in his opening speech at the Energy Week.

Masdar CEO Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi said the company’s ultimate goal is to reach 10GW renewable energy capacity in Azerbaijan with continuous investments.

“With this groundbreaking of 1GW wind and solar projects, in partnership with SOCAR, we take a significant step forward in realizing our ambitious plan to develop up to 10GW of clean energy by 2030 in Azerbaijan. Following the inauguration of the 230MW Garadagh solar plant last year, the largest operational plant in the region when inaugurated, and other key utility-scale projects in development, we are supporting and accelerating the country’s clean energy vision ahead of COP29, and beyond,” Ramahi stated.

One gigawatt of renewables is estimated to save roughly half a billion cubic meters of natural gas to meet domestic demand in Azerbaijan and add to its exports.

In October 2023, Masdar inaugurated a $200 million, 230 MW PV station in the Garadagh district, located 23 kilometers southwest of the capital Baku. The Garadagh Solar Power Plant is projected to generate approximately half a billion kilowatt-hours per year. This capacity is ample to supply electricity to over 110,000 households and contribute to an annual reduction of 200,000 tons in greenhouse gas emissions.

The collaborative effort between the UAE and Azerbaijan to leverage the abundant renewable energy resources in multi-million-dollar projects resonates with Baku’s commitment to contribute to the global fight against climate change. This commitment is particularly evident as Baku prepares to host the 29th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), also known as COP29.

Azerbaijan secured COP29 during COP28’s plenary session on December 11, 2023, with collective support from other Eastern European countries. President Aliyev, on December 25, 2023, declared 2024 as the “Green World Solidarity Year” in Azerbaijan. The event is set for November this year, anticipating around 80,000 foreign guests for the two-week global climate action gathering.

President Aliyev announced that two additional renewable energy projects are in progress — one is currently under construction, and the other is about to begin, which will bring Azerbaijan's renewables capacity from solar and wind alone to nearly two gigawatts. Adding the ongoing hydropower projects in the liberated Karabakh and East Zangezur regions, Baku aims to achieve two gigawatts of renewable energy capacity by the end of 2027.

Azerbaijan’s liberated areas are rich in hydropower resources. Since November 2020, hydropower stations with a total capacity of 270 megawatts have been launched in these territories. The total capacity will reach 500 megawatts by 2030.