Sweden Negotiates Place in Iran's Power Industry

Sweden Negotiates Place in Iran's Power IndustrySweden Negotiates Place in Iran's Power Industry

Sweden's Energy Minister Ibrahim Baylan on Saturday discussed the future of Tehran-Stockholm ties in the power sector in separate meetings with senior Iranian officials on Saturday.

"The end of sanctions against Iran presents a great opportunity to restore and expand ties. We are highly interested in Iran's power sector," Baylan said after meeting his counterpart, Hamid Chitchian, IRNA reported.

Baylan said ABB Group, a Swedish-Swiss conglomerate operating in power and automation sectors, is ready to start cooperation with Iran Grid Management Company.

ABB can help upgrade Iran's aging electricity network into a far-reaching smart power grid. A modernized power grid enables two-way communications between the utility and its customers.

It will allow for more control over the production and distribution of electricity, lower operational and management costs, enhanced transmission and improved integration with renewable energy systems.

Chitchian said Iran plans to supply electricity to more than five million subscribers from a smart grid within five years.

He stressed that the transfer of technology is key to the reentry of Swedish giants such as ABB and telecommunications equipment and services Ericsson, in Iran's market.

Baylan also said Swedish firms can carry out a wide range of projects in Iran's energy sector, including power storage and energy efficiency plans to minimize outages.

According to the official, the Scandinavian nation of nearly 10 million people has an installed power generation capacity of 27,000 megawatts. More than 50% of its total electricity come from renewable resources, particularly from wind and hydro power.

Sweden also has three nuclear plants with 10 reactors in commercial operation, but in 2015, it stopped all nuclear construction plans and significantly raised nuclear energy tax to help transfer investment into renewable energy production.

In contrast, more than 80% of Iran's 74,000-MW output are generated from thermal power plants that burn fossil fuels to generate electricity.

Iran is also planning to build two new nuclear plants to add to its limited nuclear power generation capacity of 1,000 MW.

Another stark difference between Iran and Sweden's power sectors is the electricity supply-demand model.

The deregulation of Sweden's power market has allowed its citizens to choose their power supplier from around 200 companies. Iran has been tinkering with the idea for years, but privately-run firms have hit a roadblock in breaking the government's monopoly in power production and distribution.

------- Coop. in Petroleum Industry

After meeting with Baylan on Saturday, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh referred to limited oil trade with Sweden and underlined energy efficiency programs, petrochemical projects and production of oil equipment as the most important grounds for cooperation with the European country.

"Cooperation in the oil sector has been limited in the past," Zanganeh said. "We have worked with Swedish firms before in producing oil equipment. They can do this with the cooperation of Iranian firms."

In 1970, oil accounted for more than 75% of Swedish energy supplies, while the current figure is around 20%, chiefly due to the declining use of oil for residential heating.

Sweden is planning to become the world's first oil-free nation. According to a 2013 statement by Mona Sahlin, former minister of sustainable development, Sweden dependency on oil should be broken by 2020.