Iran, Armenia, Georgia to Expand Power Coop.

Iran, Armenia, Georgia  to Expand Power Coop.Iran, Armenia, Georgia  to Expand Power Coop.

A trilateral contract will be signed in the near future between Iran, Armenia, and Georgia for power exchange between the neighboring countries, said deputy energy minister following a meeting with his Georgian counterpart in Tehran.

The energy ministry is willing to expand cooperation with Georgia in power sector, Houshang Falahatian said, adding that his ministry is ready to provide investment, construct power plants, and establish power transfer lines in Georgia.

Iran will construct hydropower plants and transmission lines in Georgia provided Georgian experts conduct feasibility assessment and propose their pricing formula as well as purchasing conditions.

Georgia's energy minister has no involvement in hydropower projects, Georgian deputy energy minister, Miriam Valishvili, said after the meeting. Hydropower plants are constructed by private companies, Valishvili noted, expressing hope that Iranian firms, which have not so far participated in Georgian power tenders will have a stronger participation in such projects.

A 170- kilometer transfer line is being established in Armenia the funding for which will be provided by Iranian banks, in the form of loans, Falahatian added. The project has had a 10 percent progress so far, and is expected to be completed in the next two years.

A joint committee should be established between Iran, Armenia, and Georgia to assess energy cooperation potentials and make final decisions, Falahatian said. Valishvili also referred to an upcoming trilateral meeting to be held by Iran, Georgia and Azerbaijan later this year and said the meeting will provide a good chance to review investment opportunities in Georgia and Azerbaijan.

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

The country is the largest exporter and importer of electricity in the Middle East and exports electric power to Armenia, Pakistan, Turkey, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Azerbaijan and Armenia supply electricity to Iran under a swap agreement.

In November, 2014, Tehran and Yerevan finalized an agreement on the construction of a hydroelectric power plant in Armenia.  Iran has also invested $180 million in construction of Sangtuda-2 hydropower plant over the Vakhsh River, south of Dushanbe in Tajikistan. The plant is expected to generate one billion kilowatt hours of electricity per year and will be fully handed over to Tajikistan after being used by Iran for 12.5 years.

The first unit of Sangtuda-2 was inaugurated in 2011 by Iran’s then president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and the second  by President Hassan Rouhani in September, 2014.