Power Projects Planned in Americas, N. Africa

Power Projects Planned in Americas, N. AfricaPower Projects Planned in Americas, N. Africa

Iran and Spain are closing in on a deal to carry out joint power projects in Africa and the Americas, while negotiations are underway to build hydroelectric power plants in Ecuador.

"We have reached an agreement [with Spain] to carry out power projects in Mexico, Chile and Egypt," Bahman Salehi, a member of Iran Power and Water Equipment and Services Export Company (Sunir), was quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency on Wednesday.

Salehi said cooperation with Spain is aimed at undertaking financially high-risk projects across the world.

The projects in Egypt and Mexico include the installation of power lines and substations in the two countries.

The official did not shed light on the potential project in Chile.

"Spanish contractor(s) will provide the finance and technology, and the Iranian side will carry out the projects," Salehi said, referring to an agreement with Spain last year in the renewables sector as a stepping stone for the expansion of energy ties with Europe's fourth-largest economy.

Sunir signed an agreement in August for technical and engineering cooperation with Bester, a Spanish company based in Seville, for the design and manufacture of solar energy equipment.

The two sides also agreed to launch regional and international projects as part of efforts to preserve the environment through renewable energy projects.

"Boosting the export of technical and engineering services in the power sector is Sunir's biggest priority," Salehi noted. "We are in parallel negotiations with several countries besides the Spaniards."

The Middle East, North Africa, Latin America, Central Asia and the Caucasus are the main destinations for Iran's power services and equipment exports.

Officials say export of electricity, services and equipment can grow tenfold from the current $2.7 billion a year.

"We are working to sign nearly $20 billion worth of agreements on power equipment and services export," Salehi said, adding that Iran is currently the world's ninth biggest exporter of power services.

War-ravaged countries in the Middle East are desperately in need of foreign investment to rebuild critical infrastructure destroyed or dilapidated through years of war and disruption.  The official singled out Iraq as a huge market for Iran's power services export.

Iran's nominal power generation capacity stands at around 74,000, with 61,000 MW coming from thermal power plants, 12,000 MW from hydroelectric plants and only 1,000 MW from nuclear power.

Plans call for raising electricity production capacity by 50,000 megawatts in 10 years.

The country is the largest exporter and importer of electricity in the Middle East and is currently exporting electricity to Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Pakistan.

  Hydroelectric Plants in Ecuador

Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian said Iran is ready to undertake hydropower projects in Ecuador in a meeting with Angelina Toral, the country's deputy coordinating minister of strategic sectors.

Referring to Iran’s combined 12,000-MW power production capacity from hydroelectric plants, Chitchian said, “The Islamic Republic has significant capacity in implementing hydroelectric plants.”

Toral is part of an economic Ecuadorian delegation that has visited Iran to explore grounds for cooperation and investment with the Persian Gulf nation in the post-sanctions period.

Stressing on the Iranian contractor's capacity to build a wide range of power plants, the official said Iranian enterprises, including Iran Water and Power Resources Development Company, are prepared to cooperate with the South American country in the construction of dams and high-standard hydropower plants.

The Ecuadorian deputy minister said, “Ecuador-Iran relations have always been based on mutual respect … One of the objectives of President Rafael Correa is to boost ties with Iran and handing over the country’s projects to Iranian contractors.”

Since 2007, Ecuador has launched a plan, worth $6 billion, to build new hydroelectric plants, Toral said, adding that the electricity generated in hydropower plants accounted for 43% of the country’s total demand in the past, but plans call for raising the percentage to 90% this year.

“The construction of 15 power plants is underway in the country and we want Iranian companies to cooperate with us in this regard,” she said.

Toral also said as 80% of Ecuador’s energy resources are still untapped, the country plans to raise energy investment to $5.8 billion.

In May 2012, the two countries also agreed to delegate an unnamed Iranian company to build a hydropower plant in Ecuador.