Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Minister of Energy of Saudi Arabia and ACWA Power officials attended on Thursday the groundbreaking ceremony of the Saudi company's 240-megawatt wind power plant in the Central Asian country.

The 1.125 billion Saudi riyal ($300 million) project, structured as a public-private partnership (PPP), is located in Azerbaijan's Absheron and Khizi region. The investment, power purchase and transmission connection agreements were signed in December 2020.

Scheduled to start operations in the fourth quarter of 2023, the wind power project will account for an estimated 3.7 percent of the energy supply to Azerbaijan’s national grid and power 300,000 households while offsetting 400,000 tonnes of emissions, ACWA Power said in a press statement. 

The Saudi energy minister said the project reflects the strategic partnership between the Kingdom and Azerbaijan in various fields, especially the energy sector. 

"In addition to the two countries' long-term diplomatic and economic relations, cooperation between them has been strengthened in recent years as Azerbaijan became a member of OPEC+, affirming the depth of the relationship especially in light of the (Covid-19) pandemic where Azerbaijan, along with the other participants in the agreement, played a vital role in reinforcing the stability and balance of global oil markets amid the crisis," Prince Abdulaziz said.

"The integration of local suppliers and subcontractors in the development of this remarkable project will elevate national competency in green projects and equip our workforce with the expertise needed to compete with international players," added Parviz Shahbazov, Minister of Energy, Azerbaijan.

Mohammad Abunayyan, ACWA Power Chairman said: "I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to the Ministry of Energy in Azerbaijan for its confidence in ACWA Power’s capabilities to implement this project, which will pave the way for achieving the ambitious plan of the Azerbaijani government to reduce carbon footprint by 2030."

Azerbaijan has set a target to generate 30 percent of its energy through renewables by 2030.

ACWA Power said it has also signed an MoU for an offshore wind project with the Azerbaijani Ministry of Energy at the groundbreaking ceremony.

(Writing by SA Kader; Editing by Anoop Menon)

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