The Armenia Renewable Resources and Energy Efficiency Fund (R2E2) is moving ahead with plans to begin construction on a 55 MW utility-scale photovoltaic solar plant in the Gegharkunik region east of Lake Sevan by 2019. This month marked an important milestone as 10 consortia were short-listed as part of a prequalification process ahead of final bidding.
Out of 21 applicants, the 10 successful international consortia (and their country of registration) were:
- TBEA Xinjiang Sunoasis (China) & Subsolar Energy (Netherlands)
- Phelan Energy (South Africa) & Korea Electric Power (South Korea)
- Shapoorji Pallonji Infrastructure Capital (India) & Risen Energy (China)
- Metka (Greece) & Energy Phoenix (Lebanon)
- Access Infrastructure Central Asia (UAE), Eren Renewable Energy (France) & TSK Electronica (Spain)
- Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (Netherlands) & FSL Solar (Spain)
- Acciona Energia (Spain)
- Building Energy Development Africa (Italy) & H1 Holdings (South Africa)
- Sky Power Global (Cayman Islands) & Enerparc Projects (Germany)
- ContourGlobal (Cayman Islands)
Readers may remember ContourGlobal as the New York-based company that purchased the three hydro plants in Syunik marz (province) composing the Vorotan Cascade in 2015.
The tender process will continue through 2018, at which time the successful candidate to design, finance, build, own, and operate the new plant will be chosen based on price competitiveness. Financing up to $60 million is being made available by The World Bank as part of an initiative to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.
The project is referred to as Masrik-1, after the village of Mets Masrik, near Vardenis, where it is to be located. It is envisioned as the first and largest of six solar plants to be procured by R2E2. Although it will be the first utility-scale solar plant in Armenia, smaller roof-top installations have gained popularity in recent years. The American University of Armenia hosts both photovoltaic panels that generate electricity, as well as solar water heating panels that directly and efficiently heat water, offsetting natural gas demand.
For a country with no oil reserves and an aging nuclear plant, new investment in renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and hydro plants is of strategic importance to ensure long-term energy self-sufficiency.