Azerbaijan seeks to reduce energy consumption, vice president of the Arctic Academy of Sciences, candidate of technical sciences, associated professor of Russia’s Saint Petersburg State University of Aerospace Instrumentation Arseniy Mitko told Trend.
Mitko noted that the conditional fuel savings in the electric power industry in Azerbaijan in 2007-2012 amounted to about 1.7 million tons per year (thermal power plants mainly use natural gas in the amount of about 5 billion cubic meters per year, generation losses are estimated at 1 percent of the total power generation).
“As a result, by 2012, on average, 131.8 tons of conditional fuel were spent on production of 1 kilowatt hours of electricity, which is 12 percent less than in 2009,” the professor added. “It is assumed that in the future, electricity generation will expand through the commissioning of renewable energy facilities, and electricity production may grow by 2.6 billion kilowatt hours per year. Thus, renewable energy power plants will allow additionally saving up to 1 million tons of conditional fuel of primary energy per year.”
Mitko noted that Azerbaijan’s long-term goal until 2030 is to achieve a 30 percent share of renewable energy in the expenditure part of the energy balance and a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to the level of 1990. Mitko emphasized that the EU provides financial assistance to Azerbaijan to implement the set targets.
The professor reminded that in 2004 Azerbaijan adopted a state program for the development of alternative energy, in 2009 the corresponding agency was created under the Ministry of Industry and Energy, which in June 2012 was transformed into an independent state company called the State Agency for Alternative and Renewable Energy Sources.
“The scope of this organization’s responsibilities includes resolving issues related to the development of projects, the purchase of equipment, construction of renewable energy facilities, the operation of energy equipment and the development of the infrastructure necessary to expand the use of renewable energy sources,” Mitko said.
“Azerbaijan’s national energy system has significant energy saving potential in the transportation sector,” the professor noted. “At the end of 2011, network losses (over power lines) amounted to 4.59 percent of the total volume of transported electricity (4.7 percent in 2010), in power distribution networks this indicator was much higher – about 16 percent. The Azerbaijani government of the country assumes that further measures taken will allow expanding the export of electricity to 8-10 billion kilowatt hours per year. In the modern era of innovation, the industrial system of the format of the 19th-20th centuries begins to be replaced by new principles of the socio-technological organization of society, and Azerbaijan is trying to comply with these principles.”
Mitko believes that the vector of transformations, affecting all aspects of human life, is aimed at the post-industrial management system and the integrated economic system of a multilayered economy (combining private initiative and business activity, strategically innovative function of the state and social orientation of the economy).
“The process of forming a multilayered structure has been also launched in the energy sector, which involves the synthesis of centralized and autonomous energy supply, and in addition – intellectual management of production, transportation, storage, distribution and consumption of all types of energy,” Mitko added.
“A sharp increase in the scientific and technological progress led to a new technological revolution,” the expert said. “The industrial economy is using the capabilities of existing energy technologies (energy “threshold”), which led to the formation of conditions for another innovative energy leap and transition to the next technological level, where a special place is given to the renewable energy sources.”
“At the same time, there has been a tendency in the modern society to widen the gap between the volume of needs of growing population of the Earth and the physical capabilities of the planet to meet these needs,” Mitko added.
“In the middle of the 21st century, advanced countries moving towards a post-industrial mode of production and the 6th technological mode, passed the first “point of no return” in the large-scale introduction of energy-efficient and energy-saving, as well as renewable energy technologies in all sectors of the economy,” the expert said.
“Moreover, the state was and remains the guiding force to expand demand for these technologies with the active support of most layers of society and business circles,” Mitko said. “In the future, the pace of this process will increase until restraining contradictions accumulate, which will be overcome at a new level of economic and social development.”
“At the end of the 20th century, the CIS countries were backward in their development and were forced to look for the ways to survive in the new conditions,” the expert said. “Therefore, the sphere of energy efficiency was not their priority. In the current century, the attention of the CIS countries to these sectors has intensified as they are a prerequisite for ensuring the continued economic growth.”
“In 2000s, the CIS countries developed appropriate measures and began to implement them,” Mitko said. “The leading countries, especially the US, have actively rendered and continue to render assistance in these issues.”
“Thus, the program of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on the introduction of Central Asia Energy Efficiency Support Program (CAEESP) involves rendering of various types of support, including financial support,” the expert said.
“The regional program is implemented by ICF International, Inc. in such countries as Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan,” Mitko said. “The activities are carried out within CAEESP, namely, assessment of the situation and setting of priorities; raising the level of awareness of interested people and training in existing approaches in the field of energy efficiency and energy-saving technologies; development of energy saving projects and assistance in attracting financing; support for private energy service companies; regional analysis and recommendations in the field of energy efficiency.”
“The CIS countries, including Azerbaijan, by the world standards have big potential in renewable energy resources,” Mitko said.
“In a number of economies, the relative indicator characterizing the share of renewable energy sources in the structure of the energy balance is at such a high level that the industrialized countries, with a large-scale concentration of financial and other resources, may reach only by the middle of this century,” the expert said.