Armenia Still on Track to Sell Energy to Turkey

energy-gridYEREVAN (Combined Sources)—A senior Armenian government official on Wednesday insisted that Armenia is still on track to begin exporting electricity to Turkey this spring in line with an agreement reached by the two governments last year, Armenian Public Radio reported.

Speaking to reporters in Yerevan, Armenian Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Armen Movsisyan said Armenia is working to prepare its energy grid to handle the export of electricity to Turkey and is waiting on corresponding preparations to conclude in Turkey.

But working out the details of how the energy will be exported to Turkey is not that easy, he said, adding that although Armenia has “a rather rich experience” as an energy exporter to Georgia and Iran, it has no experience “working with the corresponding system of Turkey.”

Under an agreement signed late last year between the Armenian Electricity Networks CJSC and the Turkish UNIT Company, Armenia was to start supplying 1.5 billion kilowatts per hour of electricity a year to Turkey in March, with that amount eventually increasing to 3.5 billion kilowatts per hour ayear.

That timeframe required technical preparations at power grids in Eastern Turkey to be completed by March. Movsisyan had said in September of last year that the infrastructure was in place on the Armenian side to deliver the electricity but that repairs to transmission lines and the installation of a new transformer in Turkey would take four to five months.

The power-selling deal was announced following Turkish President Abdullah Gul’s September 2008 visit to Yerevan and was based on a timeframe that required technical preparations at power grids in eastern Turkey to be completed by March.

Movsisian said the contract signed between the two companies is not subject to political preconditions or developments between the two countries.

Armenia produced approximately 6 billion kilowatt/hours of electricity last year and has the capacity to significantly boost that output. Two major Armenian thermal-power plants are currently undergoing multimillion-dollar reconstruction. They are due to be the main recipients of natural gas that began flowing to Armenia from neighboring Iran through a recently built pipeline. It is expected that the bulk of electricity to be generated with Iranian gas will be sold back to the Islamic Republic.

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