Power Sector Priorities Outlined

Power  Sector  Priorities OutlinedPower  Sector  Priorities Outlined

Curbing consumption, wastage reduction and construction of new combined-cycle power plants are among the energy ministry's priorities in the current Iranian calendar year (began March 21), Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian was quoted by Mehr news agency as saying Sunday.

Utmost priority has been given to secure and stable power supply in the summer, Chitchian said, adding that power authorities have emergency plans to increase grids' stability during the summer.

Power consumption is projected to grow by 5-6 percent in the current year. In addition to the projected consumption growth, an anticipated increase in the temperature may disrupt supply in the summer, the official noted.

Pointing out that construction of new power plants has declined over the past few years, the minister said plunge in investments, recession in the power industry and reduction in the capacity of power plants currently in course of construction to 2,000 megawatts (MW) are among the main challenges of the electricity sector.

Combined-cycle power plants normally use both gas and steam turbines to produce up to 50 percent more electricity from the same fuel than traditional power plants. Therefore, gas-fueled power plants are to be replaced with combined-cycle plants as part of the drive to increase output, enhance efficiency, cut down consumption of liquefied fuel and natural gas, and reduce the energy sector's contribution to air pollution. There are also plans for construction of new power plants to increase electricity production capacity by 47,000 MW, 10,000 MW of which will be fulfilled in the current year through construction of power plants with a total capacity of 3,000 MW, and 7,000 MW by converting gas-fueled power plants into combined-cycle ones.

Design, construction, and installation of new solar and wind power plants, construction of small-scale distributed power plants, revamping electricity grid and settlement of the energy ministry's debts are among other plans for the current year, Chitchian said.

Current efficiency of power plants across the country is estimated to be around 37 percent, but the energy ministry has plans to enhance the efficiency by attracting private sector investment and new projects.

The ministry intends to eventually convert all thermal power plants to combined cycle plants under a five-year project. Chitchian had earlier stated that the plant conversion program alongside the utilization of several steam turbines with 8,000 MW capacity would help save fuel consumption by $3.7 billion.

Iran’s electricity industry ranks 14th in the world and first in the Middle East in terms of electricity generation with an installed power generation capacity of 72,000 MW.