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June 04, 2004




Alternatives: Is Armenia’s energy future blowing in the wind?


If Armenia’s nuclear power plant at Metsamor should shut down, the Solaren company is ready to let the wind take over.

“According to the map of wind energy industry of Armenia, today there is a great wind energy potential in the republic,” says head of Solaren's wind energy programs Artur Lalayan.

 

Reserves surveys show a potential of 400-450 megawatts of wind energy in Armenia, about one-third of the total energy produced by the nuclear power station.

For the present moment there are no wind power stations in Armenia, however, two projects will be implemented within next three years.

According to Lalayan, in the end of 2005 the first two-megawatt wind power station with capacity of annual 5 million kilowatt-hour capacity will start functioning in the Pushkin mountain pass. It is constructed with money from an Iranian-funded grant. Another wind power station will be ready in three years. This 20-megawatt station is constructed on the Sotki mountain pass (Vardenis) and will be annually producing 60 million kilowatts per hour.

Solaren believes Armenian winds are sufficient for developing wind energy industry; only the seasonal nature of getting energy is one of the program's negative sides. Winds are stronger in Syunik and Zangezor, Northern Regions of Sevan Lake, at the foot of Mt. Aragats, and Karakhach.

Gas resources offer another energy alternative.

The governments of Armenia and Iran have recently signed Iran-Armenia gas-transmission pipeline construction agreement. Fuel will be supplied to a thermal power plant (under construction) with a capacity of 250 megawatts through that pipeline. In addition, programs of the European Union foresee running small hydroelectric power stations of Armenia, with a total capacity of 140 megawatts.

Small hydroelectric power stations are another source of alternative electric energy. There are several dozens of them in Armenia. They are mainly privatized. According to calculations, one kilowatt of hydroelectric energy will cost seven cents. The potential of small hydroelectric power stations is valued at approximately 300 megawatts and production is equal to one billion kilowatts per hour of energy.

Today solar energy is also included in the energy budget of Armenia.

Executive director of Solaren, Victor Afyan says: “If we place solar water heaters on the territory of 16 square kilometers then we will satisfy demand for the energy of the whole county.”

The first solar water heaters have already been created here. They correspond to all international standards and have necessary documentation. The device costs about $300 and costs $400-600 to install. But after installation, energy is self-created.

Solaren also tries to get energy from household gas. According to Afyan, they installed a device with carrying capacity of 25 cubic meters in Agrospasarkum livestock farm. By means of burning liquid dung that device produces 20-30 cubic meters of gas. Dung is fermented and as a result it produces gas. In its turn it burns out producing electric energy. After burning, the waste is sold to villagers as fertilizer material.

“If household gas devices are installed in such organizations functioning in Armenia then it will become possible to get 900 megawatts of energy per hour,” explains Afyan.

According to the director, they are also working on introducing legislative reforms which will lead to development of restorative energy.

Solaren is sure it is not possible to shut down the nuclear power station without having alternative energy sources. It is necessary to have serious financial assets both for deactivation and detoxification as well as for conducting construction works of devices producing alternative energy sources. And even if there are such assets it can take tens of years for getting and gaining energy using alternative methods.


According to Agnes
 

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