Azerbaijan took a huge step toward consolidating the national energy production capacity on Monday when a groundbreaking ceremony for the country’s largest 1,280 MW-thermal power plant took place in the capital Baku.
In his welcome speech at the event, President Ilham Aliyev said the new power generation complex, to be built in the western-central Mingachevir city, would significantly strengthen the national energy production potential and increase the importance of Mingachevir as the key electricity generation hub.
“Now begins a new era for the city of Mingachevir as the electricity center of Azerbaijan - in fact, not only Azerbaijan but also the entire Caucasus. The station, with a capacity of about 1,300 megawatts, will undoubtedly strengthen our potential to a great extent,” President Aliyev said, adding that the complex will help Azerbaijan make full use of its capabilities to meet domestic demand, President.Az informs.
According to the president, thanks to the lower consumption of conventional fuel in the newly built station, approximately 1 billion cubic meters of gas would be saved per year, thus, allowing Azerbaijan to increase its natural gas exports to overseas markets, including those in Europe. Furthermore, the eco-friendly plant will consume less carbon dioxide by 2 million tons.
The total cost of the new thermal power plant is estimated at $400 million. Azerbaijan’s national energy operator Azerenergy will invest 60 percent of the total amount, while 40 percent will be channeled through loans. The inauguration of the facility is scheduled for 2025.
President Aliyev said companies from Italy and China will be participating in the plant’s construction.
Mingachevir is the fourth-largest city in Azerbaijan with a population of about 106,000. The city is located 323 kilometers from Baku. Geographically, the region is located in the center of the republic on both sides of the Kura River.
Mingachevir hydropower complex is the largest dam of its kind in the entire Caucasus with an overall surface area of 605 square kilometers (234 sq mi), roughly the same size as Spain's capital Madrid. The installed power generation capacity of the station is 402 megawatts that enables to churn out 1.4 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of hydroelectric energy per year. The complex provides energy for over forty cities and districts in Azerbaijan including capital Baku and second-largest city of Ganja.
The new thermal power plant, the largest of its kind throughout Azerbaijan’s independence since 1991, comes as part of Azerbaijan’s efforts to create strong self-sufficient power generation infrastructure.
“Over the past 20 years, 34 power plants have been built in Azerbaijan, and the generation capacity of these plants is approximately 3,400 megawatts. For comparison, our total generation capacity is 7,200 megawatts, of which 3,400 megawatts have been created in the last 20 years,” President Aliyev said. “The new plant will start operating in 2025 and will further strengthen our energy potential because it is needed both in Azerbaijan and Europe.”
According to him, Azerbaijan continues reviving the electricity generation capacity of the liberated lands, including in East Zangazur and Karabakh regions, where a total of 500 MW of power generation capacity will be created. In East Zangazur, President Aliyev said, more than 50 megawatts of generation capacity were created in two years, and it will reach 200 megawatts by the end of 2023.
In January of this year, electricity generation at thermal power stations of Azerbaijan increased by 210.1 million kWh, or by 8.56 percent, to reach 2.66 billion kWh, while the overall output at hydroelectric power plants decreased by 13.5 million kWh to stand at 67.2 million kWh.
During the reporting period, electricity generation from other sources, including wind, solar, and biomass power plants amounted to 27.96 million kWh.
In the meantime, the total volume of electricity produced in Azerbaijan in January 2023 was nearly 2.76 billion kWh, which is 199.8 million kWh or 7.8 per cent more than a year ago.