Dubai: The UAE is expanding renewable energy production in the Caspian and Central Asian regions as the country’s biggest clean-power producer moves ahead with plans to generate as much as 10 gigawatts of electricity from sources including solar and wind plants in Azerbaijan.
Masdar signed agreements to build 1 GW of power capacity at two solar plants and one onshore wind project, the company said in a statement. The projects would be the first step in moving ahead with a broader plan signed in June 2022 to develop green energy in the country.
The company also inaugurated the 230 megawatt Garadagh Solar Park in Azerbaijan which will generate half a billion kilowatt-hours of electricity each year, enough to power more than 110,000 homes, Masdar said.
“This is the first large-scale, utility size solar PV project in Azerbaijan,” according to Maryam Al Mazrouei, Masdar’s senior manager for development in the region. The Garadagh project, Masdar’s first in the country, will supply power domestically in Azerbaijan over the next two decades, she said in an interview.
The state-run renewable energy producer has projects around the world, including plants and plans for facilities in the Caspian and Central Asia regions such as in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.
Masdar plans to double capacity this year as it seeks to have 100 gigawatts of gross capacity by the end of the decade, CEO Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi said in an interview last month. The 2030 target of 100 gigawatt is based on the gross capacity of projects that Masdar will have stakes in by that time.
The UAE was the first Gulf oil producer to declare a target to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and is preparing to host the United Nations’ COP28 climate summit. The UAE named Masdar Chairman Sultan Al Jaber as COP28 president. His appointment has triggered criticism as he is also the chief executive officer of giant oil producer ADNOC.
ADNOC is also expanding its presence in Azerbaijan. The company agreed in August to buy a 30 per cent equity stake in the Absheron natural gas field in the Caspian Sea. The deal marks the company’s first major international purchase of upstream hydrocarbon assets.