Offshore wind farm in the Caspian Sea: a new frontier of green energy

OpinionOffshore wind farm in the Caspian Sea: a new frontier of green...

By Asif Aydinli

Recent years have seen a noticeable increase in interest in green energy worldwide, including offshore wind farms. For example, the United States will soon open its first commercial wind farm called Vineyard Wind 1, the first offshore wind energy project of this scale on the American continent, while China is working on a similar project off the coast of Fangchenggang in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.Offshore wind farm in the Caspian Sea: a new frontier of green energy

   

Given the increased interest in green energy , such a project could be successfully implemented in the Caspian Sea . This region has significant wind potential, creating excellent prerequisites for the construction of an offshore wind farm. This can be achieved in collaboration with the Caspian countries: Azerbaijan, Russia, and Kazakhstan. News.Az decided to discuss the topic with experts from the three countries.Offshore wind farm in the Caspian Sea: a new frontier of green energy

Kazakh energy and economics expert Asset Nauryzbayev noted that by 2050, leading countries will switch to green energy, and Kazakhstan intends to do so by 2060.

“By this period, a sufficient number of wind and solar plants and grid infrastructure should already be built. In Kazakhstan, there is already a project by the German-Swedish group Svevind, which plans to build a plant to generate 40 GW of electricity for producing 2 million tons of hydrogen per year,” he said.

“The question here is whether this plant will be onshore or offshore. While details have not been published yet, this project is actively being developed. The future of the world economy is tied to the development of green energy, so I believe that if a wind farm appears in the Caspian Sea through the joint efforts of neighboring countries, everyone will benefit from this. This idea can be further developed. In this regard, the construction of several trans-Caspian cables connecting countries for energy transmission is very important,” the expert added.

“In addition, Svevind Energy GmbH intends to produce hydrogen, and considering that gas will become unclaimed, the existing gas pipeline infrastructure can be converted into hydrogen pipelines. Thus, the Turkish port of Ceyhan can become the endpoint for delivering Caspian hydrogen. We do not yet know what the future market will be like, but access to the world ocean through the port of Ceyhan gives Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan clear advantages,” the expert noted.Offshore wind farm in the Caspian Sea: a new frontier of green energy

Igor Yushkov, a leading analyst at the National Energy Security Fund and an expert at the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation, believes that offshore wind energy is a very promising direction.

“In the coastal zone, there is always good wind. Additionally, it solves several placement issues. There are quite a few such stations in Europe. Currently, more wind farms are being built at sea than on land. The first wave of wind farm construction was near consumers. The very idea of renewable energy is not just about reducing greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere but also about attempting to be independent of suppliers. In Europe, renewable energy began to develop most actively when their own hydrocarbon deposits started to decline. Renewable energy began to develop with the aim of reducing dependence on supplier countries,” he said.

“This idea became very attractive. The first projects for installing wind farms and solar panels were on land next to the consumer. But in Europe, plots for such sites are already used, and the question arises about their further placement. The choice falls on the sea. Technical progress and the exhaustion of land plots have led to very active development of the offshore zone in Europe, and often projects appear when old oil and gas platforms are converted into offshore power plants. This is a promising direction, and therefore it could be interesting in the Caspian. However, questions arise about financing this project, who and where will build it?

It is also necessary to agree on a unified tariff for selling energy. It is not a fact that energy produced in this way will be competitive with other electricity producers. After all, the Caspian countries have gas generation; there is plenty of this fuel, and it is cheap. And the question may arise as to why build such a power plant in the Caspian. Although this project can help countries get rid of carbon dependence and switch to green energy. This primarily concerns the European Union. When purchasing electricity from the Caspian, European countries may not pay a carbon tax. Russia may not be interested in exporting energy to Europe for well-known reasons. Therefore, other countries besides Russia and Turkmenistan may be interested here. These are Azerbaijan, Iran, and Kazakhstan,” he noted.

“For Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan, this project could be beneficial in terms of generating electricity, freeing up volumes of gas that can be exported. For Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, which have the opportunity to sell excess natural gas, this can be profitable. For Turkmenistan, this project can also be a way to fill pipelines to China with its gas. But all this can be implemented provided that the cost of energy production from a wind farm is lower than from gas production. Unfortunately, this question remains open,” the expert believes.Offshore wind farm in the Caspian Sea: a new frontier of green energy

In turn, Azerbaijani expert Elshad Mammadov positively assessed the likelihood of this project. “It should be noted that although the Caspian countries are traditionally positioned as states rich in energy resources, it is necessary to consider that the challenges facing the regional economy, as well as each of these countries, are quite significant and serious. These challenges are related to the need for industrialization to some extent and the creation of powerful production clusters that will require a high level of energy consumption,” he said.

“At the same time, the population in the region is generally growing, which will also lead to an increase in electricity consumption. Additionally, we see the challenges in terms of export markets. Some of them are closing, and sometimes consumers and buyers set new and unacceptable conditions even for energy suppliers. All this, of course, raises the question of the need to diversify energy policy on the one hand, and on the other hand, the production of products with higher added value, which includes ready-made electricity,” the expert added.

In this regard, I believe that the power of the Caspian Sea’s potential, and the wind potential of the Caspian region countries, could be directed towards generating alternative electricity capacities. In this respect, I believe that the countries of the region could create a strong investment consortium to increase the share of alternative electricity generation including through wind potential. Of course, technology will need to be imported somewhere, but the economic power of the region’s countries and their sovereign gold and foreign exchange reserves make it possible to effectively use these reserves to import advanced technologies, including for alternative electricity generation, to create a powerful center for alternative generation. Because in traditional sources of generation, the region already has serious competitive advantages. Still, in terms of alternative generation, without detriment to traditional electricity sources, I think there is room to work on increasing the share of alternative and wind generation to values that would diversify and strengthen the energy component of the region,” he noted.

 

Note: The above piece was originally published by News.Az on May 30, 2024.

Mati
Mati
Mati-Ullah is the Online Editor For DND. He is the real man to handle the team around the Country and get news from them and provide to you instantly.

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