Ilham Aliyev attended inauguration of “Gobu” Energy Junction

11 February 2022, 11:20
Ilham Aliyev attended inauguration of “Gobu” Energy Junction

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has attended the inauguration of a 330/220/110 kilovolt “Gobu” substation with a capacity of 1,000 megawatts and a 385-megawatt “Gobu” Power Station of “Gobu” Energy Junction.

President of AzerEnergy Open Joint Stock Company Baba Rzayev informed the head of state of the work done.

President Ilham Aliyev launched the “Gobu” Energy Junction.

Following the inauguration of the “Gobu” Energy Junction, President Ilham Aliyev was interviewed by Azerbaijan State News Agency-AZERTAC.

President Ilham Aliyev’s interview with AZERTAC

- Hello, Mr. President. We are very grateful to you for taking the time to give an interview to AZERTAC. Mr. President, a 330-kilovolt “Gobu” power substation and a 385-megawatt power plant are being commissioned today. A few days ago, you inaugurated the reconstructed “Yashma” substation. What can you say about the importance of these stations in terms of enhancing the energy potential of our country?

- The “Gobu” Energy Junction is one of the largest energy facilities built in recent years. If we take into account that the “Yashma” substation was launched at the beginning of the week, everyone can see how much work has been done in the field of energy in Azerbaijan in just one week. Of course, the construction of these huge energy facilities took time. However, the construction of such huge energy facilities in the shortest possible time shows how strong our potential is.

The commissioning of a large substation in Yashma at the beginning of the week will serve energy sustainability. The 750-megawatt substation will, of course, play an important part in our energy system. The opening of the 385-megawatt “Gobu” Power Plant today will greatly increase our generation capacity, of course. A 1,000-megawatt substation was built near this station in just one year. I should also say that only Azerbaijani companies, Azerbaijani specialists and workers took part in the implementation of these large-scale projects. In other words, it shows that we have a very strong technical capacity and human resources.

Everyone can see that the economic and financial crisis in the world is not over yet. Nevertheless, the commissioning of these huge facilities built in Azerbaijan at our own expense shows our financial capacity, our financial independence, our technical capabilities. It also shows that a lot has been done in the field of electricity in recent years, and this work continues. Because the growing demand, both domestic and foreign, our growing exports necessitate this. I should also note that Azerbaijan produced 27 billion kilowatt-hours and exported 1.6 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity last year. This is a record figure. In other words, we have already become a very serious exporter of electricity. As I said, both domestic demand and the demand for our energy abroad will prompt us to take further steps.

- Mr. President, it is well known that the demographic situation in Azerbaijan is very positive and our population is growing every year. At the same time, industrial production is developing rapidly in our country. Of course, all these factors lead to an increase in demand for electricity in Azerbaijan. What sources are expected to be used to meet this growing demand for electricity?

- Yes, the demographic situation in Azerbaijan is very positive. In the years of independence, our population increased from 7 to 10 million. This is a manifestation of the positive trends in the country, a manifestation of stability, peace, economic development and social well-being. Of course, the potential we have in all areas must be commensurate with this demographic growth. At the same time, the country's economy is growing, and so is industrial potential. Last year, we were able to delight our people with good results. Last year, our economy grew by more than 5 percent. Industrial production in the non-oil sector increased by about 20 percent. The first results of January were reported to me these days. The results are even more promising. Economic growth was about 6 percent, GDP growth in the non-oil sector was at about 9 percent and non-oil industrial production increased by 24 percent. This is a record. So it shows that the positive trend will be ensured this year as well. January is the beginning of the year. Economic growth in any country in the world in January is usually not very high, including Azerbaijan, but these indicators, as they say, are a result in themselves.

Of course, a growing industry requires increased generation capacity. This is why we are building such huge facilities. We will meet the growing domestic demand with such beautiful power plants. At the same time, as I said, the demand for our energy is growing abroad. Electricity exports to our four neighboring countries are growing – Turkey, Russia, Georgia and Iran. As I mentioned, we have exported 1.6 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity. Today, our oil, gas and electricity exports contribute to the energy security of Azerbaijan, neighboring and even European countries. Azerbaijan is one of a handful of countries that exports crude oil, natural gas, petrochemicals, oil products and electricity to all neighboring countries.

Of course, these are the achievements of recent years. We all remember that in the first years of our independence we did not have enough energy. The stations existing at the time were in disrepair and we did not have the money to build new ones. Azerbaijan imported electricity from Russia. There was a shortage of natural gas, there was no gas at all in the regions, and oil production had fallen sharply. Today, Azerbaijan is one of the world's leading countries in terms of development of all these energy components. It is no coincidence that the 8th Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council meeting, held this month, reaffirmed these successes. Almost all participants spoke about Azerbaijan’s potential and the opportunities available to Azerbaijan. Speaking there, I said that we were a reliable partner, we were fulfilling our obligations, we had the strength, the resolve and the responsibility. Therefore, today's picture is very positive and there are no problems with energy security in the country. However, many countries around the world are facing these problems and they are exacerbating. Some countries are unable to properly balance their energy at all. Because they depend on foreign suppliers and there are certain problems with that. This is why we have become a very reliable energy supplier both within the country, in the region and in the wider continent. Of course, we have further plans as well. We have major plans to meet the growing demand, both at home and abroad, and they are being realized, including our plans on renewable energy. I am sure that there will be many more opening ceremonies similar to the one we are celebrating here today.

- Mr. President, you have touched upon the issue of renewable energy. Our next question is related to that. In recent years, large-scale work has been launched in Azerbaijan in this direction. Could you please provide some information on the work being done to develop renewable energy?

- I identified this area as a priority several years ago. I should also note that it is usually the countries that don’t have natural energy resources or are facing shortages that pay more attention to this area. Therefore, in order to replace gas and oil products, countries are compelled to pay attention to this area and invest. In our case, on the contrary, we can supply ourselves and our partners with natural gas for at least another 100 years. Nevertheless, we are investing in renewable energy now. Why? First of all, because it is the cleanest type of energy. It is true that natural gas is also a type of clean energy and we currently use only clean energy to produce electricity in Azerbaijan. We do not use fuel oil. We do not use coal. However, many countries are still using these products. We use natural gas, water, sun and wind. With this in mind, we must create renewable energy sources to protect the environment in the future. The second reason is that we have the opportunity and potential to do so. The country has such a wonderful investment climate that both us and foreign companies are interested in this. We have created this interest. If we had not pursued a successful oil and gas policy and our partners had not trusted us, including the future of Azerbaijan, they would not have made such gigantic foreign investments. Therefore, very serious work is being done today to fully engage renewable energy, and we are seeing the results of this work. Where are we seeing them? First of all, foreign companies, major companies are investing in this area. Last month, a groundbreaking ceremony was held under a contract signed between “ACWA Power”, one of the largest companies in the field, and Azerbaijan. A 240-megawatt wind farm will be commissioned next year. Negotiations are underway with BP to build a solar power plant with a capacity of more than 200 megawatts in Jabrayil district. Negotiations are underway with “Mazdar” of the United Arab Emirates to build a solar power plant. Both projects have a capacity of about 400-450 megawatts. In addition, as I mentioned, we plan to build 240 megawatt power plants with “ACWA Power”, followed by 280 megawatt power plants at the “Khudafarin” and “Giz Galasi” reservoirs together with Iran. Half of that capacity will be ours, which will be an additional 140 megawatts. “AzerEnergy” has its own 50-megawatt wind farm. Then four hydropower plants were reconstructed on the liberated lands on the Lev River last year – “Gulabird”, “Sugovushan-1”, “Sugovushan-2” and “Kalbajar”. The construction of five hydropower plants on the liberated lands is expected to be completed this year. There will also be stations with a capacity of about 25-30 megawatts. It will also be possible to build about 30 hydropower plants destroyed by Armenians in the liberated lands. I would like to take this opportunity to invite local and foreign investors to this field. Because the state will do this, we are already doing this. But it would be good if private companies also invested in this area. Of course, we have tremendous potential in the Kalbajar-Lachin zone and other liberated lands. I have cited these figures: there is a proven energy potential of more than 9,000 megawatts, including solar and wind farms. Our greatest capacity is in the Caspian Sea, and it is no coincidence that the world's leading energy companies are now paying great attention to the Caspian Sea. We have already begun to receive proposals. The capacity of the Caspian Sea for renewable energy production is more than 150,000 megawatts. Therefore, we must plan all this work properly.

Of course, we have met and will continue to meet domestic demand. We must expand our exports and access new export markets. As I said, we have energy connections with all four neighboring countries, and we are now working on a new project. We now plan to build a new line through the Zangazur corridor from Azerbaijan to the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, and from there to Turkey and Iran. As I said earlier, the Zangazur corridor is not only about railways, highways and air transport. At the same time, the Zangazur corridor will play a role in energy exports. We will have a new line to supply electricity to the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, which is an integral part of Azerbaijan, and from there to foreign markets, to Turkey and Europe. One line passes through Georgia-Turkey and the second line must pass through there. We are working on it, and our growing exports will increase our importance, increase our geopolitical importance, and at the same time bring us additional currency. We will gain currency not only from oil and gas, but also from electricity, and our country will live more prosperously. Therefore, all these projects are in our plans. Today's opening ceremony once again shows our strength and determination. It shows that we are successfully fulfilling all our objectives.

- Mr. President, thank you for answering AZERTAC's questions in detail. We wish you success in your future endeavors. Thank you very much.

-Thank you.