ADB's Country Director, Azerbaijan Resident Mission Nariman Mannapbekov's interview with Report.
- At the beginning of the year, it was announced that the Ministry of Energy is implementing a pilot project "On the exchange of knowledge and technical support for the development of floating solar panels" with ADB's financial and technical assistance. What work is being done as part of this project?
- As part of a regional technical assistance program, ADB is financing the design and construction of a pilot photovoltaic energy plant on Boyukshor Lake. Visits of the Azerbaijani delegation to some European and Asian countries devoted to knowledge exchange on the floating solar energy issues were anticipated in March-April 2020. Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this event has been postponed and will be held at a more favorable time.
- How likely that ADB can provide a loan for the renewable energy project?
- If the Government requests, ADB will consider and can offer an appropriate support package, given that the development of renewable energy in ADB's developing member countries is one of the priorities for our organization. The Government may opt to expand the ongoing project's scale thru a public-private partnership or PPP modality. As we know, the private sector players with relevant experience are interested in investing in solar, including in floating solar power plants. ADB has just approved another grant to build the capacity of PPP Development Center (PPPDC), which is mandated among other activities to screen and select relevant projects for their implementation in Azerbaijan with the use of PPP tools.
- How do you assess the prospects to develop alternative energy in Azerbaijan and the large-scale utilization of floating solar panels?
- ADB supported and continues to support the Government's efforts to diversify its energy mix. Until recently, ADB provided financial assistance for constructing energy sector infrastructure, including transmission and distribution networks. ADB is actively involved in providing advisory support to the relevant agencies in charge of the energy sector development. For example, ADB funded a few study tours of the Azerbaijani officials to the UK, Australia, and Germany to learn international best practices in creating a competitive electricity market and differentiated power tariff structure. Moreover, several Azerbaijani participants attended the ADB-sponsored events, such as the annual Asian Clean Energy and Solar Energy Forums. Provided that the pilot project for the photovoltaic energy production on Boyukshor Lake is successful, this innovative project's scale can be expanded at the larger water reservoirs in the country's regions.