U.N., Norway help develop Azerbaijan small hydro

Officials of the United Nations Development Program and the Azerbaijan government have signed an agreement to support development of small hydropower in Azerbaijan.

The agreement, signed January 17 by UNDP representative Marco Borsotti and Industry and Energy Minister Natig Aliyev, provides US$1.5 million from the government of Norway to create an environment for small hydro development by the private sector in Azerbaijan.

In cooperation with Azerbaijan’s State Program on Alternative and Renewable Energy Sources, the project is to help in revising the legal system, promoting investments, and building one or more small pilot hydro projects.

Aliyev said Azerbaijan has become self-sufficient in energy through its oil and gas strategy, but needs to develop clean, renewable energy sources.

Borsotti said the hydro agreement, and a smaller wind power agreement, indicate the government is serious about reform of its energy sector.

�This project will allow Azerbaijan to acquire the information required for the introduction of the new technology, at the same time also adapt this technology to the local conditions of the country,� Borsotti said. �It will also assist in the preparation of necessary legal framework for creating a favorable condition for private sector involvement.�

In 2003, German economic development bank Kreditanstalt fuer Wiederaufbau (KfW) helped the government study a renewable energy program that would promote rehabilitation and expansion of small hydro projects.

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