Small-Scale Power Plants to Boost Output

Small-Scale Power Plants to Boost Output Small-Scale Power Plants to Boost Output

The power production capacity of small-scale power plants with distributed generation system is expected to rise by 3,000 megawatts over the next few years, deputy energy minister said on Tuesday.

“Distributed generation of electricity, downsizing power plants and exploiting small-scale power plants are some of the Energy Ministry’s strategies on the agenda,” Houshang Falahatian was quoted as saying by IRNA on Tuesday.

Nominal power generation capacity stands at around 74,000 MW nationwide, with 61,000 MW coming from thermal power plants, 12,000 MW from hydroelectric plants and only 1,000 MW from nuclear power.

“Currently, all DG and combined heat and power plants nationwide have a production capacity of 700 MW,” he added.

Distributed generation refers to electricity that is produced in small quantities near the point of use. It reduces the cost, complexity and inefficiency associated with transmission and distribution, while offsetting peak electricity demand and stabilizing the local grid.

Urging potential investors to venture in the sector, Falahatian said the ministry will purchase electricity under a five-year contract and then producers can sell the output in electricity markets at higher prices.

Falahatian also noted that over the next three years, by converting all Iran’s gas power plants into combined-cycle units, average efficiency rate of power plants will reach 41% from 37% at present.

In the long run, it is planned to meet the global efficiency standard of 85%.

A combined-cycle is an assembly of heat engines that work in tandem from the same source of heat, converting it into mechanical energy, which in turn usually drives electrical generators

Improving power plants’ efficiency will help reduce fuel consumption, save generation costs and protect the environment.

“Plans also call for replacing regular electricity meters with smart ones,” he said.

Reducing power wastage in the networks, subscribers’ usage control, preventing unauthorized use of electricity, appropriate supply of power to customers and lower end-prices are benefits of smart meters, according to the official.

By March 2016, the Persian Gulf country will join mass-producing countries of smart electricity meters. All electricity meters nationwide are slated to be upgraded to smart ones by March 2017, the official announced. Smart meters have been used in Europe and the US since 2001.