US Experts Study Armenia’s Energy Sector

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–A delegation of specialists arrived in Armenia from the US to study the prospects for the development of Armenia’s energy sector. The delegation’s visit is organized by the US and Armenian National Academies of Sciences.

On August 19–the members of the delegation visited the Institute of Botany–Armenian National Academy of Sciences–and familiarized themselves with the project of quick-growing trees. The delegation’s interest in the project is accounted for by the fact that quick-growing trees can be used in energy as alternative suppliers of fuel resources. Talking to Noyan Tapan–Director of the Institute of Botany Ashot Charchoglian said that the project was launched in 1994 with the assistance of the Association of Armenian Engineers of America. The saplings brought from the US were planted in different Armenian regions–with the soil most unsuitable for agriculture used. The goal of the studies is to select the species of trees which can be used as basis for industrial plantations for the supply of biomass to the energy sector–as building materials and for phytomelioration by means of which the arid–saline and uncultivable lands can be reclaimed. Thus–in a few years the pilot plantation in the Ararat Valley (45 hectares of saline lands) can yield 500-600 cubic meters of biomass from a hectare.

Professor Robert Anex–University of Oklahoma–pointed out that the studies are promising. However–he said–the energy sector should be ready for some innovations necessary for the processing of this kind of raw material.

Dr. Theresa Sabonis-Helf of Harvard Institute for International Development–pointed out that the energy sphere in Armenia improved greatly since 1996–during her previous visit to Armenia.

The delegation is also scheduled to visit the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant in Metsamor and the Hrazdan Hydro Power Plant. Head of the delegation Christina Maiers said that the report on the observations will be presented to the US and Armenian National Academies of Sciences as well as to the Armenian government.

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