Abu Dhabi-based Masdar, one of the world’s leading renewable energy companies and a Mubadala company, has entered into a formal agreement with the Armenian National Interests Fund (Anif), a state-owned foreign direct investment vehicle, to develop 400 MW solar power projects in the former Soviet republic at an investment of $300 million to $320 million.
The first project being planned under the joint development agreement (JDA) is a 200MW utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) plant in the west of Armenia that will use cutting-edge bifacial technology to produce electricity from both direct and reflected sunlight.
"As a global renewable energy leader active in more than 25 countries, and with a growing presence in Central Asia, Masdar has extensive experience in developing commercially successful projects in solar, wind, waste to energy and sustainable real estate," said Masdar CEO Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi after signing the deal with Anif CEO David Papazian at a private ceremony held in Abu Dhabi.
The event was witnessed by Armenian President Armen Sarkissian, Suhail Al Mazrouei, the UAE Minister of Energy and Industry and Khaldoon Al Mubarak, Chief Executive Officer of Mubadala Investment Company.
"Armenia is a fast-growing economy with an increasingly open and supportive environment for inward investment. That is an important reason why we have been able to move forward in our partnership with Anif so swiftly," stated Al Ramahi.
"As today’s signing illustrates, we are eager to explore the many ways in which we can share this experience and expertise with our partners in Armenia, a country with considerable untapped potential for both solar and wind power," he added.
According to him, the ceremony follows the signing of an MoU in July between Masdar and Anif for the origination, development, construction, operation, and maintenance of renewable power plants, including fixed and floating solar PV and wind energy.
A full member of the Masdar City-headquartered International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena), since 2010, Armenia has pledged to generate more than a quarter of its domestic power needs from renewable sources and hopes to cap its carbon emissions at 633 million metric tonnes of CO2 equivalent between 2015 and 2050.
It has pledged to generate 30 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025 and has the potential to integrate as much as 1,000MW of solar energy.
Today the country has around 2,800MW of installed power capacity, evenly distributed between nuclear, hydro and thermal generation from imported natural gas.
Armenia has small and mid-size solar PV plants already in operation, with a combined capacity of 50MW, another 250MW worth of solar projects licensed for construction, and a total of 700MW planned said, Papazian.
"Masdar and ANIF are making good on their promise to deliver industrial-scale renewable energy projects in Armenia," he stated.
"Our two teams have gelled as a single unit over the past few months, and I am happy to report that we have sent a highly competitive written proposal to the Government of Armenia which outlines the details of the 400MW of solar PV that we are jointly proposing," he noted.
Armenia receives an estimated 1,720 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of solar energy per sq m, compared with an average of 1,000kWh per sq m in Europe. Many of Armenia’s 200-plus rivers and lakes are also suitable for floating solar power projects, he added.
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