The four-day Baku Energy Week ended on Saturday with a special session held in the Azerbaijani city of Shusha, which was liberated in November 2020 from nearly 30 years of Armenian occupation.
Azerbaijan’s Energy Minister Parviz Shahbazov, several energy experts and senior representatives of energy firms, including Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR, bp and Masdar, were among the attendees of the session, titled The Path to Zero Emissions: Potential and Opportunities of Green Energy in Karabakh Region.
Speaking at the session, Shahbazov pointed to the ongoing large scale reconstruction process in Karabakh and Eastern Zengezur economic regions.
He said power plants with a capacity of 20 megawatts have been commissioned to supply the region with first electricity in a short period of time.
“This year five more small hydropower stations will be commissioned. The whole Karabakh and Eastern Zengezur economic regions are already connected by high voltage powerlines,” Shahbazov said.
He said that Azerbaijan approaches the reconstruction of these areas in line with global energy sustainability agendas.
Shahbazov said the declaration of Karabakh and Eastern Zengezur as a net-zero green energy zone “is a vivid indication of a thriving development policy.”
“The profile of these areas offers excellent opportunities for the realization of this purpose. Liberated territories have 7,200 megawatts of solar and 2,000 megawatts of wind energy potential,” he said.
For his part, SOCAR’s Acting President Rovshan Najaf said natural gas will be one of the key elements and key energy sources in a period when the company is transitioning to green energy and net-zero targets.
He said SOCAR is starting a new chapter to be “one of the first in getting to renewables and new sources of energy but entangled with conventional sources.”
Najaf said talking about just the renewables by ignoring conventional fuels is not possible in a midterm and long term. He further noted that focusing just “on conventional fuels and not thinking about renewables” is also not viable.
He stressed that the priorities in this transitioning period should be to “ensure that in first place we will have sufficient energy which is affordable, which is sustainable, which is protecting the environment and actually then we'll talk also about conventional fuels.”
Najaf said it is possible to produce conventional fuels “in a way that meets the strictest environmental regulations.”
“But talking about the future of energy, of course, it will be in the mix of conventional and renewables,” he said.
By Sibel Morrow in Baku