Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company PJSC – Masdar (Masdar), and SOCAR, the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan, have broken ground on three major solar and wind projects in Azerbaijan with a total capacity of 1 gigawatt (GW).

The groundbreaking, which took place at the opening ceremony of Baku Energy Week, reinforces Masdar’s long-term commitment to Azerbaijan as a global strategic partner.

The ceremony was overseen by Ilham Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan, and His Excellency Dr Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and Chairman of Masdar. Also in attendance were, Parviz Shahbazov, Azerbaijan Minister of Energy, Mikayil Jabbarov, Azerbaijan Minister of Economy and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of SOCAR, and Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Chief Executive Officer of Masdar.

The three groundbreaking ceremonies included the 445MW Bilasuvar Solar PV Project, 315MW Neftchala Solar PV Project and the 240MW Absheron-Garadagh Onshore Wind Project. Investment agreements for the projects were reached in October 2023, followed by the signing of power purchase agreements, transmission connection agreements, and land lease agreements.

On the sidelines of Baku Energy Week, Masdar and SOCAR also signed a shareholder agreement for the three projects.

His Excellency Dr Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and Chairman of Masdar, said: "We are proud to partner with Azerbaijan on this significant expansion of its renewable energy capacity and to support Azerbaijan’s journey toward energy diversification, stimulating new industries, new jobs and sustainable economic growth. A key pillar of the historic UAE Consensus is the goal of tripling renewable energy capacity by 2030. We need many more partnerships like these to ensure a just, orderly and equitable energy transition that keeps 1.5 within reach."

Parviz Shahbazov, Azerbaijan Minister of Energy, said: "Today, Azerbaijan and the UAE have achieved another historic success with the strength of the synergy of brotherhood, friendship and strategic partnership in their relations. Laying the foundation of three stations with a capacity of 1GW is not only a first in the field of green energy in Azerbaijan, but also a bright indicator of our solidarity and commitment to the energy transition for the sake of the green world as COP host countries. Annual electricity generation of 2.3 billion kWh, saving over 500 million cubic metres of natural gas, as well as preventing more than 1 million tonnes of carbon emissions are the future contributions of these plants to sustainable development. We are pleased to realise our green agenda together with Masdar."

Mikayil Jabbarov, Azerbaijan Minister of Economy, and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of SOCAR, said: "Today's groundbreaking of Masdar’s and SOCAR’s jointly developed solar and wind projects represents a significant milestone in Azerbaijan's energy journey. These initiatives underscore our commitment to diversify our energy sources and advance our sustainable development goals. Our partnership with Masdar exemplifies the forward-thinking and collaborative spirit necessary to drive impactful change in the energy sector. Together, we are setting a new standard for green energy projects that will benefit our economy, environment, and society for generations to come."

Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, CEO of Masdar, said: "Azerbaijan is a key strategic market for Masdar. With this groundbreaking of 1GW wind and solar projects, in partnership with SOCAR, we take a significant step forward in realising our ambitious plan to develop up to 10GW of clean energy by 2030 in Azerbaijan. Following the inauguration of the 230MW Garadagh solar plant last year, the largest operational plant in the region when inaugurated, and other key utility-scale projects in development, we are supporting and accelerating the country’s clean energy vision ahead of COP29, and beyond."

The groundbreaking follows Masdar’s completion of the 230MW Garadagh solar plant in October 2023, Azerbaijan’s first foreign investment-based independent solar power project, and the largest solar plant in the region.

Established in 2006, Masdar is aiming for a renewable energy portfolio capacity of 100GW by 2030, supporting the target set in The UAE Consensus to triple global renewables capacity by the end of this decade, whilst aiming to be a leading producer of green hydrogen by the same year.