John Heffern: Armenia remains energy-import dependent

Liana Yeghiazaryan

The U.S. Embassy in Armenia hosted the conference “The Future of Energy in Armenia: A Conference on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency in Armenia.

The conference explored opportunities for Armenia to further diversify energy sources and improve energy efficiency. The performance of the energy sector and the quality of services have improved as a result of the Armenian Government’s legal and regulatory reforms, new institutional developments, and privatization as supported by the U.S. Government and other donors. However, Armenia is still energy insecure and remains one of the most energy-import dependent countries in the region.

The primary challenges to Armenia’s energy security are reliance on oil and natural gas import, and the resultant vulnerability to price fluctuations of these imports, ensuring the continued safe operation of the Metsamor nuclear power plant, and the limited development of alternative and renewable sources of energy. Inefficient energy usage intensifies the impact of rising energy prices on the economy, especially for low income and vulnerable households. Resolution of these issues will further promote sustainability and contribute to development of Armenia’s energy sector.

Speaking at the conference, US Ambassador to Armenia John Heffern urged to hold transparent discussions on the gas tariff. He said “the US is not involved in the Armenia-Russia talks on the gas price and does not want to comment on the relations between the two partner countries.” On the other hand, the US Ambassador did not refute the fact that the Iranian gas tariffs rise because of the pressures and restrictions imposed by the US and the European Union.

Touching upon issues of renewable energy and energy efficiency, Ambassador Heffern stressed that Armenia still remains energy-import dependent.

In October, 2012, the U.S. Embassy and the Government of Armenia signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Energy Sector Cooperation.  U.S. Government-funded projects continue to enhance the Government of Armenia’s capacity to diversify energy sources, develop renewable energy and improve energy efficiency.   This conference was a part of the implementation of the U.S. – Armenian Memorandum of Understanding on energy sector designed to foster dialogue on issues related to energy efficiency and renewable energy between the government, the private sector, NGOs, and the donor community.

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