Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Armenia’s wind power potential is 10,000 megawatt, expert says

YEREVAN, June 10. / ARKA /. Speaking to reporters today, Hayk Khachatryan, deputy head of Clean Energy public organization, said a study has revealed that the total wind energy potential of the country is 10,000 megawatt, which is ten times the capacity of Armenian nuclear power plant.
He said maximum efficiency can be achieved if wind power stations are built in the mountainous regions, but admitted that their construction is difficult enough. Now Armenia has only one wind farm located at Pushkin Pass in Lori region.
According to an expert in renewable energy, Hayk Shekyan, building a wind farm would cost about $1.5 per one megawatt, given that it is furnished with imported European equipment, which is quite expensive for Armenia. He said if old turbines are imported from Western European countries and placed on local wind power plants, the cost will drop several times to $300,000-400,000.
However, according to Hayk Khachatryan, large wind farms can cause quite serious damage to the environment because they generate infrasound in the range of up to 2 Hz, which can have disastrous consequences. This is why large wind turbines in the U.S. are built on several thousand hectares, which is impossible in Armenia.
All factors taken into account, as well as the government-set tariff for wind energy which is 42 drams per 1 kW/ h, Khachatryan said use of solar energy is much more effective.
Armenia’s Metsamor nuclear power plant located some 30 kilometers west of Yerevan was built in the 1970s but was closed following a devastating earthquake in 1988. One of its two VVER 440-V230 light-water reactors was reactivated in 1995. Armenian authorities say they will build a new nuclear power plant to replace the aging facility. The new plant is supposed to operate at twice the capacity of the Soviet-constructed facility. Metsamor currently generates some 40 percent of Armenia's electricity. But the government has yet to attract funding for the project that was estimated by a U.S.-funded feasibility study to cost at as much as $5 billion. Natural gas is used for generating 35-40 percent of Armenia’s electricity.
Clean Energy public organization works to promote Armenia’s energy security and development. It carries out economic, political and scientific monitoring of this sector viewing it as a necessary element in the process of gaining energy security. -0-