Energy Investment Forum was held under the chairmanship of Azerbaijan to CAREC
The 5th Energy Investment Forum has been held through videoconference under the chairmanship of Azerbaijan to the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program. 11 member countries, international organizations supporting the Program and acting as partners were represented at the event.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the forum, Minister of Energy Parviz Shahbazov called the CAREC Program as a format of cooperation contributing to the development of the region by providing and promoting mutually beneficial relations in various fields within a large geographical area for twenty years. Stressing that in 2021, the chairmanship of CAREC was realized in a historic period for our country, the Minister said that Azerbaijan is currently implementing processes covering the opening of communications and the establishment of a new transport corridor in the direction of restoration and reintegration of Karabakh and East Zangazur along with the establishment of a safe and large-scale cooperation space under the leadership of the head of state Mr Ilham Aliyev. He also announced at the top level that he will turn the liberated territories into a green energy zone. Such a constructive position of our country, which reflects its support for deepening regional cooperation and solving the problem of global climate change, is a strong basis for the future energy architecture of the region.
Talking about the global energy trends, the Minister of Energy also drew attention to the effects of the current energy crisis. It was noted that the tough and hasty political rhetoric towards the future without hydrocarbons should be replaced with a balanced approach to energy resources, and with the real and thoughtful steps that ensure a balance between energy security and environmental safety. The sustainability of the power supply, which depends only on one energy resource, is unrealistic. While implementing our ambitious plans and targets for renewable energy, hydrogen, we must take advantage of other ways leading to “net zero” emissions - the opportunities of innovative technologies, especially energy efficiency.
The Minister of Energy emphasized that the energy efficiency combines the fastest and most cost-effective solutions to reduce carbon emissions and represents the cleanest and most often the cheapest way to meet energy needs: “The best energy is saved energy. Advances in the energy efficiency result in environmental, economic and social benefits, which are key factors for each country's involvement in this process. The Law “On efficient use of energy resources and energy efficiency” adopted this year will lead to the positive impact of efficiency in our country on various sectors of economy and households, including the energy sector. Our main goals are to save energy at a high level in the fields of power supply and energy consumption in the coming years, and to reduce losses in transmission and distribution systems by 2% and 8%, respectively. We see our future as becoming a “green growth” country with a “clean environment”.”
It was noted that the speed of the process of energy efficiency is associated with financing, along with political support. According to estimates of the International Energy Agency, in order to achieve “net zero emission” by 2050, the total annual investment in energy efficiency in the world should be tripled by 2030.
Shixin Chen, vice-president of the Asian Development Bank, noted that in 2021, Azerbaijan's chairmanship to the Central Asian Regional Economic Cooperation Program (CAREC) successfully launched, among other things, the first regional awareness campaign on energy efficiency in the region: “Under Azerbaijan’s leadership, the CAREC energy community also started conceptualizing a CAREC Green Energy Alliance. This Alliance will soon provide a platform through which investment-ready green projects can be matched with suitable financiers".
According to him, global progress in energy efficiency has weakened over the past ten years, reaching almost 1 per cent in the world. Roughly about 400 billion dollars is required be invested in power infrastructure alone over the next 10 years in the CAREC region.
Suzanne Gaboury, Director General of the Asian Development Bank, expressed confidence that the Energy Investment Forum will accelerate the attraction of private investment to the CAREC region: “We observe that energy efficiency is clearly behind the introduction of other clean technologies. Current global investment in energy efficiency is about $240 billion per year and is far behind investment in renewable energy. Energy efficiency does not only cover the energy sector, energy efficiency has a relationship with almost all sectors of the economy, including transport, buildings and industry. Therefore, investments are important in this process”
At the forum, the reports were made on possible means to achieve energy efficiency, the role of energy efficiency in electric power engineering, the financial mechanisms and the application of new technologies in terms of energy efficiency. Startups were demonstrated. It was noted that doubling the level of energy efficiency with the establishment of a reliable, sustainable and efficient energy market in the region during this decade is one of the main targets in the energy strategy of the CAREC Program until 2030. This goal can be achieved through strengthening efforts and the support of the Asian Development Bank, as well as other financial institutions.
It should be reminded that Azerbaijan has been participating in the Central Asian Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program since 2003.