Solar Plants Iran’s Top Energy Priority

Solar Plants Iran’s Top Energy PrioritySolar Plants Iran’s Top Energy Priority

The construction of renewable and solar power plants tops Iran's priority in the energy sector, deputy energy minister said on Thursday.

"In spite of the fact that such power plants' production capacity is not large, they can be built and installed all over the country," Sattar Mahmoudi was quoted as saying by IRNA.

"Gone are the days when foreign corporations used to sell us their secondhand spare parts and equipment," Mahmoudi said.

"Foreign companies will not be welcome to develop Iranian projects unless they show interest in transferring their latest know-how."

Pointing to foreign enterprises' willingness to cooperate with Iran's private sector, Mahmoudi added that the government would only play the role of a facilitator and an observer to address the probable thorny issues.

The official noted that foreign companies are making an effort either to find Iranian business partners or to redefine their old relations to pave the way for exploiting untapped energy potentials in Iran.

Underscoring plans to build new thermal power plants across the country, Mahmoudi said, "Although the primary focus of these projects is to underpin the national electricity network, underprivileged areas such as Sistan-Baluchestan Province and industrial regions will definitely reap the benefits."

"Negotiations are underway with European and Asian companies to undertake water and energy projects, yet not all of them have been finalized."

The private sector is of the opinion that producing and supplying electricity in Iran are not a very attractive venture due largely to the low utility prices and the government subsidies to consumers. Generating each kilowatt hour of electricity costs 680 rials (about 0.027 cents) while it is being sold for 430 rials (about 0.017 cents).

Asked about the ministry's debts to contractors, the official said, "The ministry has done its best to settle the $1.8 billion debt, for instance $330 million will be repaid by issuing Islamic bonds also known as sukuk, which represents undivided shares in the ownership of tangible assets related to particular projects or special investment activity. A sukuk investor has a common share in the ownership of the assets linked to the investment although this does not represent a debt owed to the issuer of the bond."

Speaking on the sidelines of the 15th International Electricity Exhibition in Tehran, Abbas Aliabadi, managing director of MAPNA, said the first series of 2.5-megawatt wind turbines manufactured by the group is capable of generating electricity in critical conditions, IRNA reported.

The domestically made 2.5-MW turbines have a 85-meter high tower. The length of each blade is 50 meters and they weigh 11 tons. The nacelle, which contains the generator component, weighs 90 tons.

The smart turbines rotate at a speed of 11 revolutions per second. They start to rotate at a minimum speed of 3.5 rps and stop working automatically when the wind speed reaches 25 rps. As soon as these turbines go on stream, 20 MW will be added to the country's electricity generation capacity.