Belfast organisation to help Azerbaijan develop renewable energy


Belfast-based Action Renewables is to help Azerbaijan, an independent republic in the Caucasus, to develop an energy strategy without oil. The project follows the organisation’s participation in an Invest Northern Ireland organised visit to a UN agency in Vienna, for local companies specialising in renewable energy.

Following the visit, in 2010, Action Renewables identified an opportunity from the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) to provide its expertise to authorities in Azerbaijan seeking to develop energy resources to reduce the nation’s dependence on oil.

The contract in Azerbaijan was announced by Michael Doran, Managing Director of Action Renewables, and welcomed by Tracy Meharg, Invest NI’s Managing Director of Innovation and Capability Development.

Tracy Meharg said: “Winning this important tender in Eurasia is an immensely encouraging development for Action Renewables, Invest NI’s focus on alternative energy technologies and the wider Northern Ireland economy. It shows that Northern Ireland has extensive knowledge and experience in renewables, a global industry of enormous potential and one in which we have been investing substantial resources to encourage and assist companies here to exploit the opportunities.

“Our technology and trade teams are working with a number of local companies, both large and small and across a broad range of industrial sectors, to enable them to harness the global business potential of renewable energy projects. Our support has already included participation in major exhibitions and visits such as the delegation to Austria in which Action Renewables participated.”

Mr Doran said: “Following our UNIDO presentation we were alerted about a tender to provide expertise in renewables to Azerbaijan. We subsequently teamed up with Ekot, a non-governmental agency there with experience in renewable energies, to respond to the tender and were successful.

“We will be organising a series of workshops in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, for senior officials from the Energy and Education ministries, other organisations and businesses there on renewable sources that could be harnessed to meet future energy requirements. They are looking at other sources such as wave and tidal, solar and wind to replace locally produced oil, which is expected to be exhausted in around 15 years.

“The workshops we are planning will cover renewable technologies and policy development. Our research indicates that there are a number of energy options that the authorities should be evaluating, especially solar thermal for water heating and photovoltaic for electricity generation.

“Other opportunities include on-shore wind and off-shore wave and tidal resources along the Caspian Sea coastline. The work will equip them to develop a meaningful strategy and an implementation plan.

“I am planning to follow up the workshops with a series of meetings with policy advisers and others involved in both policy development and implementation. Invest NI’s initiative has been immensely important and has led to our first significant project outside the island of Ireland,” added Mr Doran.