Development of the energy infrastructure of Armenia in cooperation with Iran, Georgia and Russia
The North-South electricity corridor project, capable of providing mutual supplies along the Iran-Armenia-Georgia-Russia route, can realize Armenia’s export potential and bring this country closer to an economic miracle.
Future excessive energy capacities and growing demand for electricity in Iran are the primary factor in the formation of a unified electric power system. This project has also geopolitical significance for all participating countries.
The heads of the USSR and Iran agreed on the implementation of the North-South corridor back in 1974. Two years later, a feasibility study was developed for almost 90%, but in the second half of the 70s the practical implementation of the project was halted.
The customer of the feasibility study and the main source of financing for its development is the Georgian State Electric System. Preparatory work on the project with a total capacity of up to 1200 MW per year began in December 2015, in parallel with the meeting of the heads of energy departments of the participating countries in Yerevan. And already in April 2016 in Yerevan, the energy ministers of the four participating countries signed a roadmap for the implementation of the project.
The third high-voltage line Iran-Armenia was planned to be commissioned in January, but so far the project has been completed only by 20–25%. They didn’t even start the construction of the Armenia-Georgia line, arguing with the need to radically revise the project. Given the dynamics of the development of electric power communications in the region, such slowness cannot be justified by anything.
In addition, the North-South route is becoming particularly relevant in connection with Moscow’s plans to overcome the energy crisis in Syria. Given the geographical remoteness of Russia from Syria and the involvement of Russian capital in the development of nuclear energy in Armenia, the prospects for swap supplies of electricity produced in Armenia along the corridor Armenia-Iran-Iraq-Syria can take on a specific shape. Armenia has the production capacities for this: out of 3, 555 GW of installed capacity, only 2.32 GW is used today.
Meanwhile, Armenia faces more and more energy security problems, associated with the specifics of the country's geopolitical position, which has only two existing ground-based access to the outside world - through Georgia and Iran. Less and less time remains until 2026, when the life of the Armenian NPP expires, which in the 1990s. actually saved the country's economy from collapse, and now provides about a third of energy generation.
But there is no long-term energy development strategy in Armenia.
The implementation of the North-South electric power corridor project approved in 2015, designed to ensure mutual flows along the Iran-Armenia-Georgia-Russia route, can’t move off the ground. As before the change of power in the spring of 2018, no concrete steps have been taken towards lobbying the interests of Armenia in foreign energy markets.