Power Deal With Russia, Armenia, Georgia

Power Deal With Russia, Armenia, GeorgiaPower Deal With Russia, Armenia, Georgia

Iran, Russia, Armenia and Georgia have reached a memorandum of understanding to synchronize their power grids by 2019, paving the way for electricity exchange between Tehran and Moscow as part of their expansive plans to boost cooperation in the post-sanctions period.

The decision was made during a meeting between Iran’s Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian and Armenian, Russian and Georgian officials during the 13th Iran-Turkmenistan Economic Commission in Yerevan, Mehr News Agency reported.

Chitchian was slated to discuss economic and energy projects with Armenia’s Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan and President Serzh Sargsyan in separate meetings.

During a visit by Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak to Tehran last month, Tehran and Moscow signed three preliminary agreements in energy cooperation, including the synchronization of power grids, building a 1,400-megawatt power plant in southern Iran and working on deepwater drilling in the Iranian territory.

To connect Iran and Russia’s power grids, the electricity infrastructure of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia could come into play—the three nations located between Iran and Russia.

But a brief look at the map suggests the plan can be carried out entirely through Azerbaijan, as the country boasts the shortest route between Iranian and Russian borders.

Despite announcing a speculative four-year period to complete the synchronization program, the project involves factors that complicate its execution.

To begin with, neither party has outlined a financial framework or a timetable to carry out the plan in its territory; add to that the political and economic instability in the region that could drastically shift the dynamics of the present agreement.

With an annual 274 billion kilowatt-hour power output, Iran is the largest electricity producer in the Middle East and 14th in the world in terms of installed power capacity.

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