Business opportunities and hydropower part of U.S.-sponsored renewable energy conference in Armenia

Business opportunities and hydropower part of U.S.-sponsored renewable energy conference in Armenia
YEREVAN, Armenia
By Gregory B. Poindexter
Associate Editor
U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, Richard Mills Jr., and Armenian Deputy Minister of Energy Infrastructures and Natural Resources, Hayk Harutyunyan, spoke about the potential benefits of renewable energy production for Armenia, including hydropower, during a renewable energy conference on May 17 at the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan, Armenia.
The embassy said the one-day conference was designed to strengthen the increasing commercial ties between the U.S. and Armenia by introducing leading U.S. companies to Armenian energy sector operators, allowing the American companies to showcase the latest technological advances in the field.
Seven U.S. companies – Honeywell Building Solutions, Honeywell Smart Energy, MacLean Power Systems, First Solar Power Solutions, Caterpillar, General Electric and Contour Global – sent representatives to the conference to share their experiences and to learn about business opportunities in Armenia, according to the embassy.
Arka News Agency reported that during the conference Harutyunyan said hydropower plants in Armenia have the potential to produce 40% of the country’s overall volume of the share of electricity.
According to information from the ministry, construction of small hydropower plants in Armenia is a leading course of action towards development of the renewable energy sector and securing energy independence in Armenia.
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The majority of designed, under construction or operational small hydropower plants in the country are derivational stations [run-of-river stations] on natural water flows.
As of the Jan. 1, according to the number of licenses the ministry has issued, 39 additional small hydro plants are under construction with a total combined installed capacity projected at about 74 MW, annually providing about 260 million kWh.
The conference was held in partnership with the ministry and ContourGlobal LP.
New York-based ContourGlobal finalized a US$180 million plan to acquire the 405-MW Vorotan hydroelectric power cascade in June 2015 after more than a year of deliberations with the Armenian government. The deal was reported to be the largest ever U.S. investment into Armenia.
ContourGlobal LP has hydropower plants located in Armenia and Brazil, that have a total installed combined capacity of 441 MW.
The one-day program also featured presentations by International Finance Corp., German Development Bank KfW, Ameria Bank, Switzerland-based Meeco Group, and Armenian government officials.