Energy Policy Is An Important Component Of National Security
Exclusive Interview with Mr. Etibar Piriverdiyev, the President of “Azerenerji” JSC.
By Rovshan Pashazadeh
AT: What could you tell us about the energy security policy of Azerbaijan?
Energy policy is an important component of the national security of every single country. Contrary to a number of leading states facing energy problems, Azerbaijan has built up the capacity to safeguard its national energy security and, in excess ot that, to ensure energy exports to its neighbor. Consequently, this plays a crucial role in shaping the energy policy of Azerbaijan and finding out solutions to global challenges to the country.
The foundation of the energy security policy of Azerbaijan was laid in the 1970s, at the time when the country was part of the Soviet Union and ruled by all-national leader Heydar Aliyev, whose successful policies proved more than a little prescient and translated to the implementation of necessary measures that eventually paved the way for the emergence of the state-of-the-art power system in the country.
In 1981, the first of the eight power generating units was commisioned at Azerbaijan thermal power station, the most powerful of its kind in the South Caucasus region, at the initiative of Heydar Aliyev, thereby laying down the foundation for Azerbaijan’s energy security nowadays.
Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the negative developments almost destroyed the economy of Azerbaijan, including the power system, one of its pillars. Heydar Aliyev’s resurgence to power and election by the nation to the post of president of the country in 1993 saved Azerbaijan and its people from the ongoing adversity. Within a short period of time, the newly indepedent country crafted its national energy concept in order to experience thorough changes in the power sector.
The masterpiece of “The Contract of the Century”, 1994, by Heydar Aliyev, exploitation of rich oil and gas reserves, transportation of energy resources to world markets through Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum pipelines – revived all the fields of Azerbaijan Economy as well the as system of energetics.
Due to successful continuation of the large-scale socioeconomic reforms established by H.Aliyev the general development of Azerbaijan is speeding up. Now our country, in the viewpoint of economic growth, is year by year fortifying its position amid dynamic and fast-developing states. This progress is, of course, thanks to the purposeful internal and external policies run by Ilham Aliyev – the successor of Heydar Aliyev political course. The President, in conformity with the speedy development of home economy, confirmed a State Program on “The Development of Fuel and Energy Complex in Azerbaijan Republic” (during 2005-2015) on the purpose of supplying the increasing demand for electric power. During a short period “Azerenerji” Open Joint-Stock Company has been charged with the fulfilment of important responsibilities like commissioning new generation powers in the areas of difficult electric supply, constructing and exploiting several thermoelectric and hydroelectric stations within the contents of State Program.
In a short time, i.e. during 17 months at internal expenses there have been built and released for exploitation 5 brand-new power stations comprised of 52 aggregates, generally producing 452 MW electricity, including in Astara, Shaki, Khachmaz, Naxcivan each of 10 aggregates by 87 MW per and in Baku 12 aggregates by 104 MW per. As a result, including Naxcivan AR as well, all the regions of Azerbaijan have been provided for nonstop electricity. Despite living a period of blockade, Naxcivan AR is capable of providing itself for electric power, nay exporting it. Presently the 10 percent of the whole power produced appertains to electric stations in Azerbaijan.
AT: How many thermal and hydroeletric stations are actually in operation in Azerbaijan and how much is their total production?
There are 10 thermoelectric and 6 hydroelectric power stations functioning in the Republic today. Their total power production reaches almost 5600 MW. On the whole, annually over 20 billion KW electric power is generated – 90 percent obtained from thermoelectric stations and 10 percent from hydroelectric ones. And the annual generation of thermal power surpasses 700 HCal.
Power generation reached 21.4 billion KW in 2007, and during the 7 months of the current year this indicator increased over 12.6 billion KW.
The amendments carried out in the energy system (including an increase in prices) in 2007, due to reformation jobs to be done, resulted in a 14 percent decrease in energy consumption as per installation of electric lines and meters. I also think important to note that in having accomplished the targeted jobs the energy system came to run on 20-25 percent reserve power in summertime and 7 percent in winter.
AT: What projects are actually being realized to increase generation powers in the system of energetics of the Republic?
There has been built a “Sumgait” thermoelectric station of 525 MW power generation in order to fortify the stability of electric supply for the city of Sumgait as well as Apsheron Peninsula, in general, a 300 MW “Sangachal” electrostation for an energetic security of, also a reliable and stable power delivery and distribution to economically fast-developing City of Baku and the whole Apsheron Peninsula, a 750 MW “Janub” electrostation of a great role in a stable power supply of Apsheron Peninsula and the southerly regions built in Shirvan city, a 12-aggregate of total 104 MW “Guba” electrostation for power supply enhancement of Guba and Gusar districts, also a “Shahdagh” mountain-skiing sports complex, a 50 MW “Fuzuli” hydroelectric station is presently being constructed as one of the steps to increase future peak levels in power generation besides enhancing the energy security of Fuzuli and Beylagan administrative districts for a more reliable and stable power delivery and distribution system. Simultaneously, there are being realized target jobs concerning the reconstruction projects of the 7 energy units at “Azerbaijan” thermoelectric station, hydro-units 1 and 3 at “Mingachevir” hydroelectric station.
AT: President Ilham Aliyev pays special heed to nonstop energy supply for the whole country. What type of electrostations (thermo and hydro) does “Azerenerji”prefer to build?
Hydroelectric stations require a lot of financial assets and time for construction. However, when in operation, the energy produced thereby costs cheaper than that generated by thermoelectric plants and are also ecologically harmless to environment at the nil degree. Another advantage is that while thermoelectric stations are exploited for 25 years, hydroelectric ones can serve twice or thrice as long. On the other hand, the rapid economic development entails increases in generation powers and especially peak-level powers for next years to come. Hence, there’s been prepared an appropriate program having realized an investigation of major and minor hydroelectric station construction projects. It’s considered in the program to build on the River Kur 3 hydroelectric stations (“Tovuz”, “Shixli”, “Poylu”) of a general power reaching 550 MW and 1.5 billion KW with annual production. Besides, contruction of medium and minor hydro stations on other rivers of a general power close to 800 MW and 3.5 billion KW with annual production is also being planned.
AT: Does “Azerenerji” think of exporting electric power to neighbor states?
Today, power export opportunities are approximately 1000 MW in the summertime. Resulting from the realization of large-scale power projects – after the completion of reconstruction work at “Azerbaijan” thermoelectric station, release of “Sumgait” thermoelectric station, “Sangachal” and “Guba” electrostations for exploitation, construction of “Janub” electrostation and realization of Part 2 of “Shimal” electrostation – in 2010 power export opportunities of our republic will exceed 2000 MW power.
Presently Azerbaijan runs energy exchange business with neighbor states as Russia, Georgia and Iran.