Our Analytics 10 may — 09:15

Our electricity arrived in Europe before gas (Most important event of the year)

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BY ELNUR MAMMADOV

The years have already gone down in history when experts vigorously talked about the possibility of exporting Azerbaijani electricity to Turkey and further to Europe. And they did not speak groundlessly, but quite seriously, using the necessary facts and calculations to confirm these words. In addition, their forecasts were supported by high-ranking government officials. And not only in words, but in deed. But then somehow everyone forgot about it. And suddenly…

One remembers how in the hard 1990s in Azerbaijan everyone suffered from frequent power cuts, which caused a lot of trouble to consumers. And the careful owners of a small number of computers were then acquiring special stabilisers-UPS batteries, so as not to lose with each power outage the information collected or written with difficulty. Of course, this situation could not last long.

And immediately after the establishment of stability and the flow of the first petrodollars, the country's leadership began to take measures. New modern substations were built, the power lines were reconstructed, renovated and built anew. And of course, new heat and hydroelectric power plants were built and already existing ones were reconstructed. It was necessary to do all these works in parallel, since the entire system had fallen into disrepair, and it was pointless to talk about development without electricity, one of the most important components of the infrastructure necessary for restoring the country.

Billions of dollars have been invested in this area in a short time. Almost all units of the Azerbaijan Thermal Power Plant in Mingachevir were completely reconstructed, the Severnaya and Yuzhnaya power stations were actually rebuilt, a new thermal power plant was built in Sumgayit... And in order to somehow speed up the process of increasing generating capacity, more than ten unseen here before modular power stations were put into operation. A parallel increase in power lines, substations and transformers led to a reduction in network losses, which also contributed to the reliable and uninterrupted supply of electricity to the population.

Moreover, the country's generating capacity soon exceeded the needs of the population. Yes, the uninterrupted supply of electricity, reduction of losses in the system, the installation of meters for all subscribers, the closure of obsolete industrial facilities and other measures have led to a decrease in electricity needs. New capacities soon actually had nowhere to go, power stations did not have to be loaded at full capacity.

And here the old idea on the export of Azerbaijani electricity became topical. The exchange of electricity, its so-called power flows, were carried out with neighbouring Russia, Iran and Georgia. Depending on the seasons and days, the need for electricity grew somewhere, and vice versa. And the neighbouring countries have established a reliable energy exchange. But it was not yet export, which would bring the same reliable income.

However, the build-up of generating capacity, albeit partially, solved this problem. The same neighbouring countries began to simply buy electricity from us, but in small quantities, to solve mostly the problems of their border areas. And on the horizon, the contours of more reliable consumers — Turkey and European countries experiencing a chronic need for energy resources due to the lack of their own resources — became clearly manifested.

But how to make such deliveries technically? Well, Turkey, for example, is available, and the supply of electricity there from time to time was carried out through Georgia. But Europe is far away. To achieve it, of course, is possible, but it requires thousand kilometres transmission lines, and so many boundaries must be overcome. All this requires great hassle and cost, and how it will pay off is unknown.

But here in the media appeared unexpected information. Azerenergy OJSC began exporting electricity to Greece, Romania and Hungary. Moreover, the export of electricity to Greece in transit through Georgia and Turkey and to Romania and Hungary in transit through Georgia, Turkey and Bulgaria takes place from 1 May. And in the coming months, it is expected to export Azerbaijani electricity to the very distant Austria and Italy. This is really news! There is a lot of questions: how, when, how much, etc. But information, unfortunately, is stingy, and one doesn't want to fantasise around it, for it has an international character.

Yes, we hear about the supply of Azerbaijani natural gas to Europe that will start soon, every day. This is understandable, a multi-billion dollar project needs to be covered as it is of interest to the public in a large region. And while this project is being implemented, we suddenly find out that the supply of Azerbaijani electricity to a number of European countries has already begun. Frankly, such a surprise by Azerenergy is, of course, very pleasant, but one thinks it should bring more clarity to this issue.

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