Serbia Asks Turkiye for Help in Importing Electricity from Azerbaijan
Turkiye's President Tayyip Erdogan and his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic review the honour guard during a visit to Belgrade, Serbia September 7, 2022. Image: predsednik.rs
(Reuters) - Serbia asked Turkiye on Wednesday (September 7) to allow it to transfer electricity imports from Azerbaijan estimated at around 2 gigawatt hours (GWH).
Speaking during the news conference with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in Belgrade, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said he had asked Turkiye to allocate space for the transfer of Azerbaijani electricity.
“I have asked President Erdogan to assist us, if at all possible [with transferring electricity imports from Azerbaijan]. It would be a tremendous support for Serbia. I had a conversation with [President of Azerbaijan] Ilham Aliyev. We got an agreement on the price and all, and with the Bulgarian side we have arranged everything, and we are prepared to receive 100 megawatts (MW) of the installed power, which equates to 2,000 megawatt hours (MWh), or 2 gigawatt hours (GWh), or roughly one-tenth of the electricity that is lost during the coldest months.
However, this cannot be accomplished without President Erdogan and Turkiye. They have around 700 megawatts (MW) of space, so if they can lend Serbia about 100 megawatts (MW), so that we can use that space for the transfer of Azeri electricity to our area, it would be really appreciated and would make things simpler for us during the winter.”
Serbia is almost entirely dependent on Russian gas, but it wants to diversify supplies and plans to start importing natural gas from Azerbaijan in 2023.
On August 22, Vucic and Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliev agreed over energy imports by Belgrade on unspecified terms. The Balkan country generates around 70% of its electricity needs in coal-fired power plants.
Vucic said the coming winter in Europe may prove to be "a very cold one" due to an energy crisis stemming from the war in Ukraine. Although Belgrade condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine, it has refused to impose sanctions on Moscow.
Serbia also plans to buy Turkiye's Bayraktar armed drones from 2023, Vucic said, adding that it would invest hundreds of millions of euros in the deal. He did not elaborate.
“We want to purchase Bayraktar drones, but we see that everyone else wants them as well, so we joined the line and are currently waiting, hoping that we would be able to do so next year. The discussions between our ministers, in my opinion, were productive, and I think Serbia can acquire them next year. We are prepared to up our offer for Bayraktars and pay much more than the few tens of millions of euros that were first agreed upon. We are prepared to go to the number of several hundred million euros that we would be willing to pay for Bayraktars."