June 14, 2017 - 18:14 AMT
Hayk Harutyunyan:
Transition to solar energy to cost each family around $1500
How does the Armenian energy industry develop? Will the Nuclear Power Plant be closed? How much will it cost to provide an apartment with solar energy? To get answers to these and some other questions, PanARMENIAN.Net talked to Hayk Harutyunyan, the Deputy Minister of Energy Infrastructures and Natural Resources.
The importance of the Nuclear Power Plant and construction of a new energy reactor is much spoken about. However, simultaneously, hydroelectric power plants are being built, with the attempts to attract investments from Arab states. What will be the energy generated by them used for? Does it mean that the government is preparing to close the NPP?
Yerevan’s new hydroelectric power plant was constructed to substitute the old Hrazdan HPP. Its efficiency will determine how much energy will be spend for domestic needs and how much will be exported. Our government has repeatedly said that Armenian energy field has 4 pillars, these being the development of renewable energy, improvement of energy efficiency, regional integration, which implies diversification of energy distribution ways and development of nuclear energy. All four are equally important.

Solar and wind energy make just 1% of the energy generated in Armenia. Will anything change in some 5 or 10 years?
In general, alternative energy sources make about 35% of the whole energy production, since water power engineering is also viewed as alternative energy source. We have just started developing the solar energy industry and will be able to make forecasts in several years. Presently, we have a number of big projects to be carried out. We do have expectations but everything depends on the costs and the pace of industry development, along with emergence of new technologies. We anticipate that till 2025 the share of alternative energy sources in Armenia will exceed 50%, hydropower included.

The government and the Prime Minister himself call to make use of solar energy. Can you tell how much will it cost to supply an ordinary apartment with solar energy? When will the residents feel its efficiency?
It’s hard to provide exact numbers. On average, a family consumes about 2400 kWh annually, which will demand installation of solar batteries with a capacity of 1,5 kWh. This will cost about $1500. If our goal is transition to solar energy, we must hire certain companies to calculate the expenses. At that, individual approach is needed for each house.

It’s much spoken about attraction of investments from Arab countries. Are there any projects developed for the purpose?
There are projects aimed to attract investments for the development of solar and wind energy. Besides, the potential investors are also interested in agriculture development programs.

Which are the reasons for this interest?
There are several factors, including the trust inspired by the government’s new investment policy and the agreements achieved during the President’s visit to the United Arab Emirates. I can assure you that Armenia fully meets all the requirements set by investors: political stability, economic growth, unexhausted potential and good relations with the UAE.

Georgia has recently announced that will purchase gas from Azerbaijan only. Does it mean that the project envisaging gas delivery through Armenia to Georgia will be canceled?
Definitely no. To tell the truth I haven’t even heard about this announcement, but I know the Georgian company which has signed a gas purchase agreement with Iran. We are currently negotiating various issues with Tehran, because it should be a mutually beneficial deal. Without going into details, I can add that the possibility of gas transition through the Iranian territory is also negotiated. The matter concerns Turkmen gas delivery to Armenia through Iran.

So, it turns out that Georgia, despite its announcement did not sever the talks with Armenia and Iran. Could it be a political rather than economic declaration?
This question should be addressed to Georgia.

Would you comment on the possible sale of RusHydro shares? Reports go that Russian companies are losing interest in the region.
The cascade of Sevan and Hrazdan water power plants is an important construction and I am sure that it will present interest to many investors. The Russian organization has its own reasons for the decision. Anyway, it will never be abandoned.

Kristine Kyurklyan / PanARMENIAN.Net