Speech by Ilham Aliyev at the opening ceremony of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week
16 January 2023, 12:05
- Your Excellency, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the UAE.
Heads of state and government.
Ladies and gentlemen.
First of all, I’d like to express gratitude to the President of the UAE for inviting me to attend this important gathering. It is a big honor for me to speak in front of this audience. Yesterday, we had an excellent meeting with Mr. President and once again confirmed the strategic importance of the relationship between the UAE and Azerbaijan in many areas. Using this opportunity, I would like to express gratitude to all our hosts.
I want to congratulate the President and the people of the UAE on their tremendous achievements in rapid development. Under your leadership, Mr. President, the UAE transformed into world’s one of the most stable, developed and successful countries. And we, your brothers in Azerbaijan, are really proud of what you are doing.
We in Azerbaijan develop renewable energy sources not to provide our energy security. We did it many years ago. Today, Azerbaijan not only satisfies all its needs with energy but also exports crude oil, oil products, natural gas, petrochemicals, and electricity. Our program with respect to renewables has an entirely different agenda. First, because there is enormous potential. Second, it will help us diversify our export and, of course, create a new ecologically-friendly sector of our economy.
Just two years ago, Azerbaijan completed a mega energy project with its partners - the Southern Gas Corridor - an integrated pipeline system that stretches from Azerbaijan to Southern Europe and has a length of 3500 km.
Our export of natural gas is growing from 19 billion cubic meters last year to 24 billion cubic meters this year, and it will continue to grow. Therefore, our vision for Azerbaijan to be one of the centers of renewable energy sources is not energy security for Azerbaijan. But we do it for different reasons, which I already announced.
With respect to our potential, here are just a couple of figures for your attention. Twenty-seven gigawatts of wind and solar onshore, 10 gigawatts of wind and solar energy in the territories liberated during the Patriotic War of 2020, and 157 gigawatts of wind energy in the Azerbaijani sector of the Caspian Sea - almost 200 gigawatts of potential. Of course, we need to have enough export routes. And, of course, to implement all these projects in stages.
Yesterday, MASDAR and Azerbaijan’s national energy company SOCAR signed an agreement to develop four gigawatts of wind and solar power plants in Azerbaijan. It is only a short-term project, and mid-term projects will increase the volume to 10 gigawatts. And this is absolutely doable, and we have a roadmap for that. This project alone, in cooperation with MASDAR, will transform Azerbaijan into a significant source of green energy exports.
In total, MoUs and agreements signed by Azerbaijan with international energy companies will allow us to produce up to 22 gigawatts of wind and solar energy.
And, of course, for that purpose, we need export routes, as I already mentioned. And just last month, 17th of December, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Hungary and Romania signed an agreement to build a Black Sea sea-belt electric cable from the Black Sea coast of Georgia to the Black Sea coast of Romania. And this agreement was witnessed by the President of the European Commission. We plan to build a cable that will transport green energy from Azerbaijan at the level of four gigawatts. But that will not be enough. That is only what has already been agreed upon. Our plans are much broader.
The investment climate in Azerbaijan is very positive, and we accumulated considerable investments in the oil and gas sector. But now our target is renewables. So, in other words, we have great plans. And I am sure that we will succeed.
Thank you very much.