The actions taken to broaden the green economy are of paramount importance for achieving sustainable development against the backdrop of environmental pollution, declining natural resources and growing demand in the world. It is no coincidence that the 5th priority in the “Azerbaijan 2030: National Priorities for Socio-Economic Development” approved by President Ilham Aliyev" is called “Clean Environment and “Green Growth” Country”. The document sets specific assignments for the wide use of environmentally friendly technologies, stimulation of waste recycling and rehabilitation of contaminated areas, and expansion of the use of environmentally friendly green technologies.
Note that the recycling process established in Azerbaijan is in place to develop the green economy, expand the production of competitive industrial products, and improve the environmental situation. The concept of "recycling" fills an important place in the modern economy. Following the consumption process, part of the waste can be reused. Recycling is the periodic incorporation of reusable materials into the consumption process. It is principally aimed at preventing the waste of natural resources and environmental pollution, as well as creating an additional raw material base. Recycling, unlike primary production, is easy and fast, which saves energy.
Balakhani Industrial Park’s Activities
By Decree of the President of December 28, 2011, the Balakhani Industrial Park was established with the aim of creating favorable conditions for entrepreneurs and potential investors in the field of recycling in our country. The Decree appoints Tamiz Shahar OJSC as the managing organization of the Balakhani Industrial Park. The recycling process carried out in the Industrial Park assumes a greater importance. Given the growing interest in the Industrial Park, which originally covered an area of 7 hectares, the area was increased to 10,15 hectares.
The establishment of the Balakhani Industrial Park serves the purpose of broadening the production of competitive high-tech industrial products in the country, developing the non-oil sector, including the green economy, increasing employment in the manufacturing sector, and improving the environmental situation in Baku and nearby settlements. Balakhani Industrial Park is a convenient place for those who want to build a recycling business and engage in green production using innovative technologies. There are 23 residents registered in the Industrial Park, the waste here has been involved in recycling at these enterprises, and activities were expanded to increase the production of green products.
The status of a resident in the Balakhani Industrial Park gives entrepreneurs a number of advantages. Residents who do business in line with the principles of sustainable development and environmental protection standards using modern technological innovations are exempt from paying income, land and property taxes for a period of 10 years. Moreover, technological equipment imported for production purposes is exempt from VAT and import duties for a period of 7 years. In the Balakhani Industrial Park, products made from waste using raw materials are exported to a number of countries.
Activities of the Baku Solid Waste Incineration Plant
Among the most effective waste management and environmental impact mitigation methods is incineration and energy generation. Baku Solid Waste Incineration Plant, established as part of the “Comprehensive Action Plan for 2006-2010 to Improve the Environmental Situation in Azerbaijan” and operating since 2012, is the largest enterprise of this kind in Eastern Europe and the CIS in terms of production capacity. The Plant was built in full compliance with the most stringent EU environmental standards using the fourth generation (4G) technology. The Plant with an annual capacity of 500,000 tons of household and 10,000 tons of medical waste generates 231.5 million kWh of electricity from waste incineration, which provides electricity to 100,000 households.
Waste Disposal and Sorting
In October 2009, the Balakhani Urban Waste Landfill was transferred to Tamiz Shahar OJSC. Electricity is generated from gases emitted from disposed waste using modern technical devices here. The separated water after special filtration is used to irrigate trees planted in the landfill. Sorting is among the most important activities in the field of waste disposal. Tamiz Shahar’s Solid Waste Sorting Plant has been successfully operating since 2012. At this Plant with a capacity of 200,000 tons of waste per year to sort household waste and develop the recycling business in the country, the materials released as a result of sorting reduce the total amount of waste, forming a cheap raw material base for the Balakhani Industrial Park. This, in turn, gives a great impetus to the development of the recycling process in the country. The operation of the Sorting Plant acts to save natural resources and energy through proper waste management.
Liberated Territories’ Green Economy Potential
Under the leadership of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief, Mr. Ilham Aliyev, the 44-day Patriotic War ended with a glorious victory for the courageous Azerbaijan Army, and our lands were liberated from occupation. In the liberated territories, large-scale restoration and construction, economic reintegration activities are being carried out, with one of the strategic visions in this direction being the creation of a green energy zone in these territories. A green energy zone is classified as an area where energy needs are met with the maximum use of green energy (renewable energy sources), and environmentally friendly and energy-efficient green technologies are used in the energy value chain. The Memorandum of Understanding was signed on February 22, 2021 for cooperation between the Ministry of Energy and BP to assess the potential and conditions required for large-scale decarbonized, integrated energy and transportation systems, as well as renewable energy projects in cities and regions of Azerbaijan. The Memorandum was concluded in the context of the diversification of the Azerbaijani economy, the creation of a competitive energy market, the implementation of measures to ensure a clean environment and the country's green growth priorities, as well as the announcement by BP of net zero emissions targets in 2020. The Memorandum provides for exploring opportunities for cooperation in clean energy projects, low-carbon transport, green buildings, waste management, clean industry, natural climate solutions, integrated partnerships, and the development of integrated and decarbonized energy and transport systems. In addition, on June 3, 2021, an Implementation Agreement was signed with BP for the construction of a 240 MW Solar Power Plant in Jabrayil and Zangilan. According to the Agreement, an appropriate economic and technical analysis of the power plant project that BP plans to build will be carried out and a final decision will be made.
The foregoing gives reason to say that the future economic development of Azerbaijan will be closely related to the use of environmentally friendly technologies, the use of clean energy sources, waste recycling and the strengthening of efforts on the rehabilitation of polluted territories.
In accordance with the National Priorities, the environment will be improved, vegetation will be quickly restored and increased, and the efficient use of water resources and sustainable energy sources will be ensured.