Electricity Exports Help Bolster Nat'l Security

Electricity Exports Help Bolster Nat'l SecurityElectricity Exports Help Bolster Nat'l Security

Electricity export is not merely an economic issue, an energy analyst said.

"Through power exports, we can boost security along the borders, as the safest place across the sensitive Iran-Afghanistan frontier is where electricity lines link the two countries," Fereydoun As'adi also told ILNA in an interview, adding that such proactive measures would help reduce defense expenditures.

However, he said a number of obstacles have hampered the key sector's development, including poor power pricing, high rate of electricity wastage in distribution networks and uneconomical price of feedstock for power generation.

Iran could become the world's leading exporter of hydrocarbon resources, given its "special strategic position" in the Middle East, the analyst said, lamenting the wasted opportunities to tap into the country's rich oil and gas reserves in both northern and southern waters.

The official said gas export would be more profitable than exporting gas-fueled electricity.

"The price of feedstock, including gas, for power plants, is volatile and not yet determined," he said, adding that power exports would be a secondary issue as long as the government does not devise a concrete pricing scheme for feedstock.

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.

It is the largest exporter and importer of electricity in the Middle East, exports electric power to Armenia, Pakistan, Turkey, Iraq and Afghanistan, and also imports electricity from Azerbaijan and Armenia under a swap agreement.

As'adi underlined as a "missed opportunity" the profit Iran could generate by importing electricity from northern borders, including from Turkmenistan, Armenia and Russia, only to deliver the input through its broad power grid to the Persian Gulf Arab neighbors, such as Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, during the peak consumption period. Talks of increasing power exports come as average rate of electricity generation efficiency in power plants nationwide was put at 37% last year.

Add to that the multibillion-dollar cost of reducing power wastage as well as a 3,500-megawatt power deficit in the previous year, which is expected to last at least for three more years.