Renewable energy in Armenia becomes factor of influence of external forces
The issue of development of renewable energy, which is always topical for Armenia, has recently received a new sound. Representatives of the European Union and the United States started to declare their readiness to assist Armenia in implementing projects in this sphere. The Head of EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Peter Switalski said that the EU intends to promote Armenia's energy independence and plans to stimulate the production of cheaper electricity. According to US Ambassador Richard Mills, Armenia has a great potential in the field of renewable energy. Mills stressed the interest of US companies to make investments in the energy sector of Armenia.
Some local observers consider these steps in the context of Western players' attempts to weaken Russia's influence in Armenia, particularly in the energy sector. Although Western diplomats reject any political background of these projects, recent statements about the need to create alternative sources of cheap energy in Armenia confirm the assumptions of observers.
82% of the Armenian energy sector belongs to Russia. These are the leading enterprises of the industry - Gazprom-Armenia, Hrazdan Thermal Power Plant, JSC Electric Networks of Armenia, Sevan-Hrazdan Cascade of hydroelectric power plants. Obviously, the West has missed a lot in the issues of competition and strengthening of positions in Armenia's energy sector. But regardless of the geopolitical competition, the sphere of renewable energy is of the greatest importance for Armenia, as a country that does not have any reserves of organic fuel. As evidenced by the government's energy policy, the development of energy, based on renewable sources, is in the center of attention, along with the development of nuclear energy, the diversification of energy sources and their delivery routes, as well as the modernization of existing facilities.
Today, renewable energy occupies 23% in the total balance of electricity produced in the country, nuclear power - 40%, and gas - 37%. The most promising area of renewable energy is hydropower. In recent years, great progress has been made here - over 100 small hydroelectric power plants with a total capacity exceeding 125 MW operate in the country. Other important areas of renewable energy are geothermal, wind and solar. In the case of the latter, Armenia has considerable potential due to its proximity to the tropical zone. In most parts of the country there are favorable natural and climatic conditions, which make it possible to widely use solar energy. In the near future, construction of the first system solar station of industrial scale will be started in Armenia.