Tuesday, April 16, 2024
 
 

Chosen to host COP29, Azerbaijan draws special attention to its energy policy

In the US, Azeri Energy Minister discussees renewable energy projects, Southern Gas Corridor expansion
AZERBAIJAN ENERGY MINISTRY
World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia Antonella Bassani and Azerbaijan’s Energy Minister Parviz Shahbazov meet in Washington, DC, US, February 20, 2024.

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Azerbaijan’s Energy Minister Parviz Shahbazov visited the U.S. this week where he held talks with World Bank representatives, U.S. government officials and investors, discussing energy cooperation as well as the 2024 Baku Climate Change Conference, or COP 29, that will take place from November 11 to 22 in the capital of Azerbaijan.

The World Bank is ready to support Azerbaijan’s progress in the green energy transition, Shahbazov said after a meeting with Antonella Bassani, World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia. “We agreed to accelerate the financial support for the grid-strengthening project as a contribution to COP29,” Azerbaijan’s Energy Minister said on X. This will help the country integrate eight wind and solar power plants into the energy system by 2027.

They also discussed the Caspian-Black Sea-Europe Green Energy Corridor and cooperation to increase Azerbaijan’s offshore wind energy potential in the coming years.

At the meeting, the sides also exchanged views regarding cooperation on connection of the 760 MW Banka and Bilasuvar solar energy projects to the energy system, rooftop solar panels, energy storage systems, green hydrogen, energy efficiency and emission reduction, Azerbaijan’s Energy Ministry said.

Tatiana Mitrova, a research fellow at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy, told NE Global on February 23 that by becoming the host country for the next COP, Azerbaijan has automatically drawn special attention to its energy policy.

“For the country, it presents a good opportunity to enhance the significance and ideally, attract funding to its key export projects – to develop the Green Energy Corridor and expand the Southern Gas Corridor,” Mitrova said.

She noted that while the Green Energy Corridor is a green but extremely challenging large-scale project, the situation with the expansion of the more commercially important Southern Gas Corridor is more complex. “The project is appealing to the EU in terms of diversifying gas supply sources but faces difficulties in justifying investments and simultaneously arouses significant skepticism among environmental activists. Coupled with the appointment of an oil industry veteran as the COP29 president-designate, this might create a toxic backdrop,” she argued.

At the U.S. State Department, Shahbazov exchanged ideas with Rick Duke, Deputy Special Envoy for the Climate Office of the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, on initiatives that will ensure Azerbaijan’s successful leadership in global energy transition and cooperation within COP29.

Azerbaijan’s Energy Minister announced plans to commission eight industrial-scale power plants by 2027 to increase the share of renewable energy in electricity and to decarbonize oil and gas operations, including the Sangachal Terminal. Noting the 157 GW wind energy potential of the Caspian Sea, Shahbazov and Duke also discussed the implementation of the Caspian Sea-EU Green Energy Corridor from Azerbaijan to Georgia via a subsea cable under the Black Sea to Romania, and Hungary to export green electricity and green gas.

Shahbazov updated Duke on Azeri state oil and gas company SOCAR’s accession to the Oil and Gas Decarbonization Charter (OGDC), the goals of reducing gas flaring to zero, and achieving zero methane emissions as indicators of Azerbaijan’s commitment to combating climate change.

Shahbazov also met with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources Geoffrey Pyatt, noting that both sides to cooperate on U.S. support for expanding the Southern Gas Corridor. “We have considered opportunities to develop traditional energy partnerships at a new stage,” Shahbazov said on X.

“Good discussion on need for global commitment and concrete progress on methane reduction before COP in Baku,” Pyatt wrote. “Excited to hear about Azerbaijan’s Green Energy corridor plans to Europe and across Caspian, including through offshore wind. Lots of work ahead together on connecting with Central Asia.”

The Southern Gas Corridor was also discussed in a White House meeting with Sarah Ladislaw, Special Assistant to President Biden and Senior Director for Climate and Energy. According Azerbaijan’s Energy Ministry, over three years, the Southern Gas Corridor supplied Europe with more than 31 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas.

US Secretary for Energy Jennifer M. Granholm meets with Azerbaijan’s Energy Minister Parviz Shahbazov in Washington, US.

In Washington DC, Shahbazov also met with U.S. Secretary for Energy Jennifer M. Granholm, discussing the development of bilateral energy cooperation at a new stage, the supply of natural gas and green energy, as well as COP29. The sides exchanged views on the energy security projects implemented by Azerbaijan as a traditional energy supplier, as well as the development of the Caspian-Black Sea-Europe and Central Asia-Azerbaijan-Europe green energy corridors in the framework of interregional integration, energy security and energy transition, Azerbaijan’s Energy Ministry said, noting that the country plans to integrate 2 GW of green energy production capacities into the energy system by 2027, bringing the share of renewable sources in its energy system to 33 percent.

During the conversation, Shahbazov and Granholm also addressed energy storage systems, emission reduction and Azerbaijan’s initiatives within the COP, and reviewed possible forms of partnership.

As part of his U.S. visit, Azerbaijan’s Energy Minister also met with Edison Electric Institute (EEI) President and CEO Dan Brouillette in Washington. “We discussed the cooperation opportunities with this association, which represents all U.S. investor-owned electric companies,” Shahbazov said.

Azerbaijan’s Energy Minister Parviz Shahbazov visits the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Denver, US.

Moreover, Shahbazov toured the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Denver that plays an important role in energy transformation through research, development and application of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies, accelerating the energy transition. “We have determined the fields to cooperate with NREL on the implementation of the energy transition course of Azerbaijan,” he said.

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Co-founder / Director of Energy & Climate Policy and Security at NE Global Media

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