Azerbaijan and Iran with their huge energy prospects have recently intensified all-out cooperation in the energy sector.
The two countries, eyeing a milestone in this sector, achieved a breakthrough after co-chairs of the Azerbaijan-Iran intergovernmental commission – Azerbaijan’s Economy and Industry Minister Shahin Mustafayev and Iranian Minister of Communications and Information Technology Mahmoud Vaezi signed a framework agreement on the sale of electric power during President Ilham Aliyev’s one-day official visit to Tehran on February 23.
The agreement envisages cooperation in the field of use of energy and water resources, construction and operation of Khoda Afarin and Qiz Qalasi hydroelectric power plants and hydroelectric complexes on the Araz River, the Economy and Industry Ministry reported on February 25.
The agreement also proclaims equal rights for water and energy resources along the Khoda Afarin and Qiz Qalasi hydroelectric power plants and hydroelectric complexes. The document states that Iran will ensure construction of hydroelectric complexes and hydroelectric power plants, preservation and operation of water and energy resources at these facilities until the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan is restored.
The Khoda Afarin and Qiz Qalasi hydroelectric power plants and hydroelectric complexes, the construction and operation of which is to involve Azerbaijani specialists, will be used by Baku and Tehran on equal terms. Free of sanctions, the Islamic Republic has set a goal to boost ties with neighboring countries, including Azerbaijan. Tehran has repeatedly expressed willingness to expand cooperation with Baku in the water and electricity sectors.
Recently, the two countries have held talks over construction of geothermal and wind power plants in Iran’s Meshkin Shahr and Khaf cities respectively. The projects are expected to kick off soon. Linking the electricity networks with Azerbaijan and Russia is also among Iran’s priorities in the energy sector.
Recently, Iran’s Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian said the electricity consumption in Azerbaijan and Russia reaches its peak in winter, meanwhile Iran experiences peak consumption in summer. Therefore, the sides can swap electricity for avoiding costs for construction of new power plants. Experts believe that all three countries will benefit from linking the electricity networks. Also, Azerbaijan as a transit country can carry out electricity export-import operations by linking electricity system with Russia and Iran, and get dividends for transmission of electricity.
Earlier, Azerbaijan’s Energy Ministry told Azernews that Azerbaijan’s energy system is technically ready to be linked with the Iranian and Russian energy systems. Azerbaijan enjoys the relevant infrastructure for electricity transmission. To this end, all the necessary powerful production facilities are available both for the Darband-Yashma and Imishli-Parsabad power transmission lines.
Azerbaijan’s electricity production capacities also allow the country to be an electricity exporter, thus opening excellent opportunities for Iran and Azerbaijan to encourage energy cooperation.