Interdependence of Energy and Climate in Armenia in Focus of Civil Society

Interdependence of Energy and Climate in Armenia in Focus of Civil Society

New trends in the development of the energy sector in Armenia, problems related to the construction of a new power unit of the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant (ANPP), and the interdependence of energy and climate were discussed at "EcoLur" Press Club.

Director of "Energy Strategy Center" Vahan Sargsyan, Director of Armenian Branch of "Foundation to Save Energy - ESF" Astghine Pasoyan, President of "Public Awareness and Monitoring Center" NGO, National Coordinator of Aarhus Convention Mari Chakryan, Expert of "Khazer" Ecological and Cultural NGO Aram Gabrielyan, President of "Women in Climate and Energy" NGO Nune Sakanyan, Director of "Forests of Armenia" NGO Nazeli Vardanyan, President of "Consumer Advice Center" NGO Karen Chilingaryan, experts Emil Sahakyan and Edward Arzumanyan, Alexander Avanesov from "Arminfo" News Agency, Inga Zarafyan, President of EcoLur Informational NGO, Victoria Burnazyan, Vice President of EcoLur Informational NGO, Roza Julhakyan -  Expert of EcoLur Informational NGO, journalists Kristina Ter-Matevosyan and Monika Yeritsyan took part in this meeting.

Inga Zarafyan referred to "Integrated energy and climate planning for countries of the South Caucasus" workshop held in July 2022 in Tbilisi. “The energy sector in Europe and around the world is marching under the banner of climate change. European countries are currently developing national energy and climate plans. We saw clear messages of social justice in the German plan presented to us during the meeting," she said, adding that the idea of ​​developing a similar plan for Armenia arose at that time.

"It is necessary to create the prerequisites for the development of the National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP), take into account the developments that are based on the goals of the European Green Deal, the principles of climate justice and align it with the policies developed in the fields of energy and climate change in Armenia, proposals in the package, take into account financial support, the use of technologies and cooperation on European platforms, hold consultations with the government and other organizations responsible for energy and climate change policy, and finally lobby for the adoption of the NECP with state organizations, local self-government bodies, non-governmental organizations, experts and activists," Inga Zarafyan noted.

Astghine Pasoyan mentioned that in 2020, when the development of the national energy saving and energy recovery plan began in Armenia, she proposed to make the national energy and climate plan at once. "It was decided that at some point we will stop developing energy saving, renewable energy and climate plans separately. An integrated plan has advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that it synchronizes, brings to a common denominator. The National Energy and Climate Plan should not be done like mechanical localization, but use this opportunity to reassess our energy and climate commitments because they may not be realistic," she noted and added that it is necessary to create a large platform and working groups under it for a wider discussion of the raised issues.

Nuclear Energy

The problem of building a new power unit of the Armenian Atomic Power Plant (ANAP) was tabled. According to Edward Arzumanyan, the construction of a new 1200 MW power unit of ANPP in Armenia is not allowed, as it is fraught with dangers. "The power of the new nuclear unit, according to the Russian and international requirements for the safety of nuclear energy, should not exceed 45-50% of the peak power of the given power system. The peak power in the power system of Armenia is 1200-1210 MW.

“Thus, the power of that new nuclear block can make up no more than 600 MW. At present, talking about the 1200 MW capacity of the new nuclear block in Armenia is absurd from the energetic viewpoint, which can lead to a new Chernobyl,” Edward Arzumanyan expressed his opinion.

Alexander Avanesov mentioned that if the country wants to build a new nuclear unit with a capacity of 1200 MW, if it wants to increase the volume of solar energy to 1000 MW by 2030, then it should be analyzed what specific industrial development plans exist under these capacities. "If all that is not done, those calculations are not done, then there will be a disaster, the energy system will be at great risk," he said.

Vahan Sargsyan mentioned that the system operators should answer that question. "The most serious problem is the regime issues in the system, which are caused by such developments. More important are the issues of stable operation of the system, which are not ensured in this case. It was planned to build an Iran-Armenia power line with a capacity of 400 kW, which was supposed to ensure the export of 1000 MW. But are there agreements with Iran that we can disconnect that line whenever we want, transfer it as much as we want, or not transfer it? Those questions should be addressed to the system operator," he said.

Astghine Pasoyan also noticed that when such a question was raised, potential financiers stated that Armenia could never sell that much electricity, therefore the investment could not be bought back.

Roza Julhakyan mentioned that the components regarding the construction of these lines are included in the strategic plan for the development of the energy sector of Armenia until 2040, and it can be concluded that the new strategy plan is wrong. "It turns out that the action plan for hydropower, solar and nuclear powers, all this is a fiction, there is no professional substantiated?" she questioned.

In response, Vahan Sargsyan said, "There was a quadrilateral commission among Russia, Armenia, Iran and Georgia, which tried to fix the issues, but we don’t know whether it will succeed," he said.

Emil Sahakyan noted that back in 2012 he presented an expert opinion on the construction of a new power unit of the nuclear power plant. "If we really build something like this, we will go to the hell. How many times have I submitted an official letter regarding the non-expediency of the Armenia-Iran 400 kW power lines and the new 1000 MW power line under reconstruction between Armenia and Georgia. They are very big magnitudes," he said.

Aram Gabrielyan also referred to RA government's decision on approving  Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC)  of the Republic of Armenia under the Paris Agreement for 2021-2030. "The NDC was developed based on the energy strategy, while it was supposed to become a guide for the strategy. How will we place 1000 MW in the energy system?" he noted.

November 25, 2022 at 12:25