EghtesadOnline: Total power production in the two East and West Azarbaijan provinces is 3,150 megawatts, of which barely 20 MW comes from renewables, operator of green energy power generation and distribution projects in the provincial electricity company said.
“According to state-owned Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Organization, aka Satba, the province is ranked as low as the 30th in terms of producing power from renewable sources,” Hamideh Eskandari said, IRNA reported.
Azarbaijan Power Company is more than a century old but generates as little as 20 MW of renewable. This also means that not enough investment has been made in this important sector, nor have officials made enough effort to promote the expansion of clean energy, she added.
Referring to Miyaneh wind farm, she said that the first phase of the venture, with 50 MW capacity, was launched in January in Aqkand village, East Azerbaijan Province and the second phase will be synchronized with the national network by December, increasing the plant’s capacity by 20 MW, Financial Tribune reported.
Construction work on Sarab wind farm is continuing as planned and Ardabil’s 1 MW solar plant will become operational soon.
“Investment packages have been prepared for private sector investment in wind farms in East Azarbaijan counties namely in Ahar, Oskou and Bonab,” she noted, but did not say much about the proposals and intended benefits for private companies willing and able to invest in the intended projects.
The guaranteed purchase price paid by the government for renewable power generated by private companies has recently increased by 65% -- something unheard of in the past.
Energy experts hope that the new tariffs would help encourage private firms to come forward because these companies so far have played an important role in developing green energy.
Private companies have invested $1 billion in the gradually expanding renewable sector, mainly solar and wind.
Due to government funding constraints, private firms are expected to play a bigger role in promoting clean energy if the purchasing prices are reasonably attractive.
The policy to raise the prices comes at a time when some 200 companies active in the renewable sector are facing difficult times.
Volatility in the currency market and the Energy Ministry's reluctance to allow fair and reasonable tariffs for electricity produced by private companies are among root causes why companies are averse to putting money in this sector that is growing in leaps and bounds in many countries.
Of the total 81,000 MW capacity, 850 MW comes from renewables -- 44% solar, 40% wind power, 13% small hydroelectric plants, 2% geothermal and 1% biomass.