Azerbaijan’s large oil and natural gas reserves have put it at the forefront of major energy distribution in Central Asia. Natural resources play a significant role in the country’s economic growth, with the energy sector accounting for one third of Azerbaijan’s GDP.

Over the last 30 years however, daily power shortages have been a commonality for the residents of Central Aran in Azerbaijan as Shirvan, the age-old power plant in the district, proves unstable and inefficient. This has had a knock-on effect for households, businesses and farmers, who faced low productivity, delays in production and high production costs.

The Government, supported financially by The Islamic Development Bank, constructed a new 780 MW Janub Power Plant, recognising the importance of supplying efficient energy to its people. The 134 Million Euro project was further supported by the OPEC Fund for International Development and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development.

The newly built power plant operates on a highly efficient Combined Cycle technology and has a maximum generation efficiency of 52%. As a result of the new power plant, the delivery of social services by hospitals, schools and public administration has seen substantial improvement.

Janub has reduced Azerbaijan’s annual fuel consumption by an incredible 120 million tons and has reduced CO2 emissions by 72,000 tons. The emissions released from the plant have reduced so much so that Janub is now in line with national emissions standards and international best practises.

Since the plant was connected with The National Grid in 2013, the entire population of Azerbaijan, estimated at around 10 million, have felt the benefits. The plant will also play a critical role in the export of electricity and power swaps with Iran resulting in increased energy security for both countries.

The power plant is being operated and maintained by the local workforce.  Extensive training programmes have been key in the transfer of knowledge and in building the capability of the local community. Additionally, periodic maintenance is regularly performed by equipment suppliers which help keep production risks minimal.

The project is a resounding success, progress is apparent from all angles. Rasim Mammadov, a former employee of the Shirvan Power Plant who is currently working at Janub, says “The whole region is now getting a 24 hour supply of electricity. The improvement in our living conditions, due to electricity supply are hugely noticeable”