Siah Bisheh Power Plant Goes on Stream

Siah Bisheh Power Plant Goes on StreamSiah Bisheh Power Plant Goes on Stream

The 1,040-megawatt Siah Bisheh Power Plant was inaugurated in a ceremony attended by First Vice President Es'haq Jahangiri and Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian, Managing Director of Iran Water and Energy Resources Development Company Seyyed Mohammad Reza Rezazadeh said on Tuesday.

The power plant, located in Mazandaran Province in northern Iran, comprises four 260 MW units, which can operate both in pumping and turbine mode, the official was quoted as saying by Tasnim News Agency reported.

Speaking on the sidelines of the inauguration ceremony, Rezazadeh said the project became operational at an estimated cost of $434 million.

According to Rezazadeh, gradual synchronization of the four units will add up to 800 MW of electricity to the national grid to improve the stability of power transmission in Tehran during the hot season.

"In Siah Bisheh Power Plant, at times of low electrical demand, excess generation capacity is used to pump water into the higher reservoir with a capacity of 4.3 million cubic meters, with a height of 82 meters. When there is higher demand, water is released back into the lower reservoir with a capacity of 6.9 million cubic meters, with a height of 102 meters, through a turbine in 4 hours, for generating electricity," he said.

The reversible turbine acts as both pump and turbine. Nearly all facilities use the height difference between two natural bodies of water or artificial reservoirs.

According to experts, the technique is currently the most cost-effective means of storing large amounts of electrical energy on an operating basis, but costs and a suitable topography are critical factors.

More than 220,000 MW electricity are being generated by power plants across the world, which accounts for 3% of the generated electric energy worldwide. Japan and the US produce 30,000 MW and 25,000 MW of their much-needed electricity via this system respectively.

Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian declared on Tuesday that Iran's national electricity grid has experienced no blackout for the past 13 years.

Chitchian said, "Renewable energy resources are dependent on weather. However, in atomic power plants, generation must be constant and it is impossible to adjust generation with the grid's fluctuations."

Feasibility studies of the project were conducted by Lahmeyer Group and Moshanir Power Engineering Consultants in 1985. Construction operations started in 1992.

Siah Bisheh Dam is a concrete face rockfill dam, which embodies the state-of-the-art technology in dam design and construction.

"Iranians have access to the most inexpensive electricity in the world at a rate of approximately 1.4 cent per kilowatt-hour," Chitchian said.

"Cheap prices hamper the development of the power industry, make procurement and maintenance difficult and prevent investments in this key sector."

According to a report published last year by the Statista research portal on global electricity prices in industrial countries, every kWh of electricity in the United States costs 10 cents, while consumers in Italy, Germany and the UK pay the highest with 21 cents, 19.2 cents and 15.4 cents per kWh respectively.

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

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 74,000 MW.