Armenia and the Energy Industry

By: Shahan Goenjian

News of Armenia’s use of renewable energy and natural gas fuel for cars and trucks has been trending as of late.  I was surprised to learn that Armenia is the world leader in nations that utilize natural gas.  Bloomberg and the Huffington Post have reported that 75% of cars and trucks in Armenia run on it. For clarification, natural gas exists naturally underground.  It must be extracted and refined just like petroleum and oil, but when it is used as fuel it is a cleaner alternative.  Although the extraction of natural gas is considered to be more harmful than other fuel sources, Armenia extracts virtually zero natural gas.  The natural gas is extracted and processed in Russia and then sold to Armenia.  Regardless, the wide-spread use of natural gas as automobile fuel shows that Armenians are doing there part in caring for the environment.

Armenia has also been developing its renewable energy technology.  Currently, 40% of electricity in Armenia comes from a nuclear power plant and 35% comes from hydro power plants.  Armenia otherwise depends on imported fuel for its energy because the land does not contain abundant fossil fuel sources (like natural gas, oil, and petroleum), so the development of renewable energy technology is crucial for greater self-dependence.  The potential of more small hydroelectric power plants has been a topic of discussion recently.  The development of these small hydro power plants are attractive options for the Public Service Regulation Committee of Armenia because there are eleven river basins which are not only available for development, but are also well suited for hydroelectric power plants because of the way their waters flow.  I am unfamiliar with the science, but statistics show that 832.6 million kWh (kilowatts) a year.  These hydroelectric power plants generate roughly one-third the energy nuclear power plants generate in a year.  This is a solid alternative and there is still plenty of room for development.  Unfortunately, we no longer have possession of our old Lake Van which would provide Armenia with a great boon in hydroelectric energy.

This type of news adds to my Armenian pride.  It is very satisfying to see that major news publications like Bloomberg and the Huffington Post are recognizing Armenia use of cleaner fuel and energy sources.  The development of renewable energy technology is an honorable path for Armenia to pursue

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