Azerbaijan launches first solar auction, seeks investors for 100MW solar project

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A Masdar project.
Masdar has announced plans to build 10GW of renewable capacity in Azerbaijan. Image: Masdar

Azerbaijan has announced its first solar auction and will seek private support for the design, financing, operation and maintenance of a 100MW project in the eastern municipality of Gobustan.

Applicants can request eligibility documents from the Ministry of Energy from 30 April, and will need to supply completed proposals by 14 June. The ministry plans to make its decision on the first phase of awarding the tender on 12 July, but offered no timeline as to when the project would be expected to be commissioned.

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The ministry noted that “foreign investments” would be welcome in this process, as the government looks to continue to attract overseas investors into its energy sector.

These include the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a joint venture involving the EU, European Investment Bank and 73 member states, including Azerbaijan. The EBRD has invested considerably into Azerbaijan, having committed more than €3.7 billion (US$3.95 billion) into 189 projects in the country, including US$21.4 million towards the Garadagh solar project, which is owned by Masdar.

“Azerbaijan’s decision to introduce renewables auctions is a big step towards a more diversified and sustainable energy sector, and we are proud to play a key role in this process,” said Aida Sitdikova, head of energy for Eurasia, the Middle East and Affrica in the EBRD’s Sustainable Infrastructure Group,.

The news comes as Azerbaijan looks to significantly increase its role in the clean energy transition. In November, the country will host the UN’s COP29 conference, and the government has announced plans for renewables to meet 30% of its energy-generation capacity by 2030, which would be a striking change from the current energy mix, where International Energy Agency figures suggest that oil and gas meet 98% of Azerbaijan’s total energy supply.

Last year, Masdar announced plans to expand its influence in the Azerbaijani renewables space, signing agreements to build 1GW of new solar and wind capacity in the state, part of a proposed 10GW renewable portfolio.

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