Power Efficiency, Conservation on Agenda

Power Efficiency,  Conservation  on Agenda Power Efficiency,  Conservation  on Agenda

Plans are underway to help improve electricity conservation and efficiency by 10-15 percent and curb power wastage via an urgent plan to stop direct hooking and power theft, a deputy energy minister said.

Speaking to the press, Houshang Falahatian outlined the government's new policies to reduce power wastage that call for short and long term scenarios initiated by the power industry, namely Tavanir, Mehr news agency reported.

On ways to enhance and improve power production by constructing and expanding renewable energies, Falahatian said, "Presently Iran is able to produce 220 megawatts of clean electricity and a contract has been signed with private companies to build new plants to generate 945MW of renewable energy. The new plants are projected to come on stream in early 2016.”

He added that $47 million (125 billion rials) has been allocated to develop solar energy by making use of solar cells. “Households have been called upon by the government to install solar energy systems for their houses in exchange for 50% of the installation cost as ex gratia loan.”

The ministry of energy also has plans to equip public places with small solar power plants. "Over 6,000 photovoltaic systems were installed across the country this year. The figure will increase to 10,000 in the near future," Falahatian was quoted as saying.

Plans to construct new renewable energy power plants with the capacity to add 3000 to 5,000MW within the next five years have been finalized. "The private sector can participate in these ventures. Measures have been taken to fund the new facilities through the National Development Fund of Iran plus lending from banks." He put the total debt of the energy ministry at $9.4 billion (25,000b Rials) of which almost 8 billion (22,000b Rials) pertains to the electricity sector. “Half of this amount is owed to banks after some power plants were handed over to the banks in place of loan repayments during the previous government.”

The remaining half of the debt is owed to private electricity companies, consultants, and contractors, the deputy minister said. “It has been decided to repay all the debts, and with improvement in the business environment in the country the debts will be cleared at a faster pace.”

  Rising Demand

Iran’s domestic consumption and production have steadily grown since the mid-1980s and it is still heavily reliant on traditional thermal energy sources of electricity, with a small fraction being produced by hydroelectric plants. The energy sector has focused on meeting the continuing demand.

Today Iran is the 19th largest producer and 20th largest consumer of electricity in the world. A research by the energy ministry indicated that between 15,000-20,000MW of capacity should be added in the next 20 years. In recent years Iran has put greater emphasis on participation of domestic and foreign investors in electricity generation sector, with projects underway to add 40,000 MWh more capacity to the national grid.  It is estimated that some 18.5 percent of electricity generated in the country is wasted before it reaches consumers due to technical problems.  

As a further drive toward diversification of energy sources, Iran has established wind farms in several areas.

In 2010, the government announced plans to build 2,000MW of renewable energy capacity between 2010-2015. As of 2010, Iran had 8,500MW of hydroelectric capacity and 130MW of wind energy capacity. By the same year, private companies signed contracts to build more than 600MW of biomass systems and 500MW in new wind energy projects. Iran is also working to make renewable energy commercially viable and the energy ministry is required to buy privately produced renewable energy at world market prices.

In 2012, the government allocated €500 million from the NDFI for renewable energy projects. Also supporting the solar industry is the state-sponsored Renewable Energy Organization of Iran (SUNA), which is affiliated to the energy ministry.