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Potential by technology

This first version of an Armenian Renewable Energy Roadmap (This project has been funded by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and by the World Bank (WB), under plan TF-056211. The results, conclusions and recommendations expressed in this report represent the points of view of the Danish Energy Management, A/S Denmark, and may not necessarily represent those held by GEF/WB, or by the R2E2 fund.) identifies the economically and financially viable potential of renewable energy (RE) in Armenia. It defines short (2013), midterm (2015), and long-term (beyond 2020) targets for the development of RE as well as outlines specific steps towards achieving those targets. It includes milestones to allow regular tracking of progress towards the established goals.
As a country possessing few raw materials, Armenia has no direct access to fossil energy and has to rely on their import (97% of prime energy sources). However, it can utilize different sources of RE available within the country. RE can be grouped in the following three main groupings:

  • electricity from small hydropower (SHPP), wind power, photovoltaics (PV), geothermal power, and biomass;
  • heat from heat pumps, solar thermal power, geothermal power, and biomass;
  • energy for transportation from gas and liquid fuels extracted from biomass.

Several factors were taken into consideration during the development of the Roadmap, such as targets, technologies, legislative measures, and possible impact on the environment.

  • The Roadmap targets set the priorities in the development of the RE and the energy system such as energy independence, potential of lowering the energy costs, creation of high tech industries, environmental benefits, as well as responsiveness to the technological and business changes in the world.
  • The types of technologies available determine the potential for energy generation, suitable management structures, pre-requisite infrastructure requirements, and how the use of the generated energy can be optimised. These technologies include: small hydro, wind, solar PV, solar hot water, biofuel, heat pumps and electric vehicles, pumped hydro storage, hydrogen economy, demand-side management tools for load levelling, and also energy efficiency technologies and measures. The global energy industry, technology, and business resemble a dynamic field that develops fast and relies on technological, scientific, and business knowledge.
  • Preparedness for possible changes in the energy environment can be achieved through planning and developing the appropriate capacities in these areas. The changes to the energy environment may include technological developments, emerging export/import opportunities, as well as overall industry and economic developments in Armenia and in the rest of the world.
  • RE legislation represents a package of legislative measures intended to encourage and to support the business as well as the implementation of Renewable Energy Technologies (RET) by the population. Each RE option or technology requires a specific approach stemming from the Republic of Armenia targets. This set of variables serves as the catalyst for the RE development in Armenia. Managing these important factors through proper planning and regular updates would contribute to the achievement of the targets of the Armenian RE Roadmap.

Figure 1 on the next page illustrates the aforementioned variables.

According to the main results of the Armenian RE Roadmap project, the contribution of the renewable electricity in Armenia can increase by fivefold in 2020 in comparison to the present energy production from RE. In 2010 RE production generated 310 GWh, and it is forecasted to generate 740 GWh in 2015, and 1500 GWh in 2020. It is important to emphasise that the achievement of targets is much more dependent on politically implemented measures than on technical capabilities.
The findings of a comprehensive review of RE potential in Armenia have ranked SHPP (up to 10 MW) and solar hot water heaters as the most advanced RETs and the most economical for Armenia in the short to medium-term, followed by grid connected wind farms and the use of heat pumps.
Photovoltaics, geothermal power, and biofuels, especially bioethanol from cellulosic feedstocks, are ranked as more costly in today’s prices and are not expected to be commercially viable in the short to medium-term, but may play a more important role in the longer term, and in the development of RE high-tech industry.
Biomass was also considered for both heat and electricity production for the short term, under several conditions, including re-planting of harvested trees and biofuels using fractionation process. In addition, hydrogen was considered as a possible fuel for transportation in the longer term. Finally, although not strictly a renewable resource, municipal solid waste in landfills was considered a practical source for generating methane for power production near municipalities. Table 1 presents the estimated RE technical potential in Armenia in accordance to the findings of the Roadmap project.

Table 1. Estimated RE Technical Potential in Armenia

Technology Type Capacity
PV >1000 MW
Wind 300-500 MW
Geothermal 25 MW
Hydro 250-300 MW
Solar Thermal >1000 MW
Heat Pumps >1000 MW
Biofuel 100 thousand tons/year

One of the most important results of the Renewable Energy Roadmap for Armenia project is the establishment of the national targets for renewable energy technologies in all three energy sectors. The targets are established using a special methodology, based on the consumption data of the last decade. To that end, energy demand for Armenia in the of electricity, thermal energy, and transportation sectors were developed for various scenarios including the base case, where the demand can be fulfilled by utilizing a variety of energy sources such as renewable energy, fossil fuels, and nuclear power.
In order to provide ease of comparison of the calculated results, GWh units are used for all three sectors.