Sistan-Baluchestan Electricity Production, Export Potential High

Sistan-Baluchestan Electricity Production, Export Potential HighSistan-Baluchestan Electricity Production, Export Potential High

Sistan-Baluchestan Province, situated in southeast Iran, has the potential capacity to produce and export more electricity to neighboring states, namely Pakistan and Afghanistan, managing director of Sistan-Baluchestan Electricity Distribution Company said on Thursday.

"Long borders with Pakistan and Afghanistan, abundance of sunny days as well as winds, known locally as 120-day winds, are among special features, making the province suitable to invest in renewable and small-scale power plant projects," Mohammad Reza Rakhshani-Mehr was also quoted as saying by IRNA.

According to the official, Iran's electricity export to Afghanistan is being undertaken through a 20-kilowatt transmission line whose capacity is 25 megawatts per hour and Pakistan imports about 100 megawatts of electricity from Iran for its border regions.

Underscoring the province's untapped potential to produce renewable energies, he noted that Sistan-Baluchestan enjoys the potential of producing 3,000 MW of electricity provided the private sector plays a more active role in implementing development plans in this underprivileged area.

Asked about providing investors with financial incentives, the official said the guaranteed purchase of electricity for 20 years, in addition to buying power generated from renewable resources for $0.30 per kilowatt-hour, is one of the effective strategies to attract the much-needed fund.

"Peak electricity demand in the province is about 1,300 MW, which usually occurs in June, yet it has never experienced blackouts due to precautionary measures," he said.

Pointing to the most formidable challenges to hinder development of the region, Rakhshani-Mehr said, "The harsh climate has made it very difficult to expand the electricity grid in the province. Due to its vast area spanning 187,500 square kilometers, the rate of electricity wastage is high. Nonetheless, unlike other regions, there is plenty of land to construct power plants."

On the considerable achievement in reducing power wastage in the province's power grid from 28% in 2011to 14.2% in 2015, he noted that plans have been devised to reach the optimum wastage rate of 8%.

"In line with the Iranian Energy Ministry's plan to curb power outages and put an end to building huge conventional power plants, constructing distributed generation, or DG, tops the Energy Ministry's agenda," he said.

DG refers to electricity 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.

"The first DG power plant will go on stream in Saravan in Sistan-Baluchestan province in the near future," he said, noting that the contract for purchasing the generated electricity from the DG has already been concluded. According to Houshang Falahatian, deputy energy minister, the power production capacity of small-scale power plants with a distributed generation system is expected to rise by 3,000 MW over the next few years.

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

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.