Azeri, Iranian Ministers Make Public Plans to Create
Unified Power Grid
Jul 1, 2008 - BBC Monitoring Central Asia
Azerbaijan, Turkey, Georgia, Iran and Russia are in talks
to join their power grids, the Azerbaijani energy minister
announced after meeting his Iranian counterpart, Ekho reports.
Armenia, which has been technically at war with Azerbaijan
for about 20 years over Nagornyy Karabakh, will not be allowed
to join the project. The project that involves the five
states will further improve electricity supplies and may
open the way for the sale of electricity to Europe. Once
this project is completed, the Azerbaijani exclave of Naxcivan
will also join the unified system, which will help meet
its acute need for electricity in winter. The following
is the text of R. Orucov's report in Azerbaijani newspaper
Ekho on 19 June headlined "Armenia will find itself in the
centre of a power circuit but out of it" and subheaded "Otherwise,
Azerbaijan will refuse to participate in the project"; subheadings
have been inserted editorially:
Azerbaijan, Turkey, Georgia, Iran and Russia are in talks
to unify their power grids. Turkmenistan is also showing
interest in this project, Azerbaijani Industry and Energy
Minister Natiq Aliyev has told reporters after a meeting
with Iranian Energy Minister Parviz Fattah. He believes
that Azerbaijan and Iran have already started negotiations
on establishing regional ring power circuit.
"We, together with Iran, are establishing a new conception
which envisages the presence of the ring power circuit inclusive
Russia, Azerbaijan, including the Naxcivan Autonomous Republic,
Iran, Turkey and Georgia. I believe that this project is
very important for our countries since the establishment
of such a power circuit will give us a possibility of supplying
electricity to Europe," Natiq Aliyev has said.
The minister said that Turkmenistan also wants to join
this system enabling conditions for electricity export to
Europe. "We have had a chance to discuss mutual relations.
The target is to unify the power grids of Azerbaijan and
Iran and set up a ring of power circuit. Russia, Iran, Turkey,
Georgia and Azerbaijan intend to establish such a circular.
"This is extremely important for our country. On the one
hand, we get an access to Turkey from Azerbaijan via Iran,
at the same time, we want to join Naxcivan the unified power
grid. If this idea is realized, we shall also be able to
supply electricity to Europe. Turkmenistan also intends
to join the project. The establishment of a regional unified
and powerful energy system would be advantageous to all
players in this project," N. Aliyev said.
Iran and Azerbaijan set to expand energy cooperation
In his turn, Parviz Fattah said that the positions of
Azerbaijan and Iran to expand energy cooperation coincide.
"Azerbaijan and Iran have always cooperated in the electricity
sector. In the first six months of this year, power exchange
was carried out between the two countries and we shall try
that this activity be continued in the second half of the
"The Iranian side has satisfied demands of Naxcivan's energy
needs for many years and is ready to further supply the
autonomous republic both with electricity and natural gas.
We are in preparations for the July commissioning of the
second Imisli- Parsabad power line, which will enable us
to increase the level of electricity exchange between the
two countries from 250 MW to 700 MW", Fattah said.
Once this joint project is completed, we shall be able
to supply Naxcivan Autonomous Republic with 150 MW electricity
and as a whole, the Azerbaijani power grid with 400 MW in
The project is being realized jointly with the Iranian
Sunir company and incorporates the construction of 330 kilowatt
power line Ali Bayramli Imisli power plant, the second line
of Imisli- Parsabad, 220 kW power line of Ali BayramliSalyan
power plant, Salyan-Masalli, Masalli-Astara as well as the
Salyan substation and the expansion of another four substations.
The overall extension of the power line is 350 km. This
project is also being implemented within the framework of
synchronizing the power grids of Russia, Azerbaijan and
Working group to further study widening cooperation
The Iranian minister also said that at the meeting with
Natiq Aliyev, an agreement was reached to set up a working
group at the level of deputy ministers of energy for issues
of establishing an energy corridor between Azerbaijan, Iran
and Russia, transit of energy from Azerbaijan to Turkey
through Iran and mutual investments in the power sectors
of Azerbaijan and Iran.
Fattah also expressed his hope that relevant documents
on achieved agreements would soon be signed.
In October 2008, a protocol will be signed between Azerbaijan,
Iran and Russia on the project of unifying power grids,
for his part, Natiq Aliyev added. In his words, the draft
protocol was developed by Russia and could be signed in
"We shall again consider this document after which a signing
ceremony will be held. We have already received an invitation
from Russia for a repeat meeting and signing of the document."
Natiq Aliyev also noted that Azerbaijan and Iran see eye
to eye with Iran in this issue.
Moreover, one should underline that the document on the
construction of 500-KW power line was signed in the course
of a meeting between Presidents of Azerbaijan and Georgia
Ilham Aliyev and Mikheil Saakashvili as well as Turkish
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Tbilisi on 7 February
Turkmenistan joining projects
The project envisages exchange of electricity between the
countries. Earlier Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan discussed
the issue of laying a cable along the seabed of the Caspian
Sea for the mutual exchange of electricity.
Thus, the expected establishment of such a system will
enable not only carry out electricity exchange between the
six countries but also export electricity to Europe. Moreover,
Azerbaijan will get an access to the Turkish market.
It is extremely remarkable that Armenia was not mentioned
during all the previous relevant negotiations, although
it is geographically between all future lines of this project.
It turned out that they are not planning to invite Armenia
to this project, otherwise, one of the key players Azerbaijan
will automatically drop out of this and is not ruled out
that Turkey will also act likewise.
As Alakbar Baxsaliyev, the spokesman for Azarenerji power
company, told Ekho yesterday, "the project of ring power
exchange might be implemented without problems, since, for
example, we have operational lines along which electricity
was supplied to Georgia and Iran from Azerbaijan and the
other way round.
The issue of electricity exchange was also raised at sittings
of the CIS [the Commonwealth of Independent States], but
Azerbaijan rejected this proposal to participate in this
project along with Armenia. So it is clear that Armenia's
accession to the new regional project cannot happen as far
as we are part to it".
For his part, the head of the centre for economic researches,
Fuad Rasulov, said that no doubt Armenia would be glad to
be involved in the power exchange in the pipeline. "This
country cannot secure own needs for electricity fully despite
the existence of the Metsamor nuclear power station. Both
Iran and Russia supply extra electricity to Armenia. Remember
the period of the [Soviet] Union when all the republics
were interconnected within the single power system.
So, in principle, this is fully normal and justified when
neighbouring countries unify their power grids. This enables
to carry our cross-flow of superfluous electricity where
there it is not enough. Following this, mutual financial
settlements of accounts are made both in monetary or commodity
forms, depending on how the sides agree. But Armenia is
not attending this international project in the pipeline.
At the same time, we have our own mutual contracts with
Iran and Russia.
On many issues, starting from food aid programmes to energy
resources, Armenia has always received subsides from various
countries, first of all, certainly from the two above-said
states. This is their mutual affairs. However, in this project,
Armenia will not be involved along with us. If it was said
somewhere officially that Armenia would somehow be involved
in it, Azerbaijan would not in no way joined it."
Originally published by Ekho, Baku, in Russian 19 Jun 08
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