Iran, Iraq Set to Connect Power Grids in November

The synchronization project can play a key role in exchanging electricity between the two countries, especially during peak demand hours
Iran trades electricity with four neighbors, namely Azerbaijan Republic, Turkey, Armenia and Iraq.Iran trades electricity with four neighbors, namely Azerbaijan Republic, Turkey, Armenia and Iraq.

In line with efforts to boost electricity exports to neighboring states, Iran's electricity network is expected to be synchronized with Iraq's power network under a pilot plan in November.

Houshang Falahatian, a deputy energy minister, made the statement on the sidelines of a meeting with his Iraqi counterpart, Adel Kazim Jarayan, in Tehran on Monday, Mehr News Agency reported.

Attaching great importance to the initiative, Falahatian said, "The synchronization project can play a key role in exchanging power between the two states, especially during peak demand hours."

According to the official, Iran trades electricity with four neighbors on its northwestern and western borders, namely Azerbaijan Republic (including Nakhchivan Autonomous Region), Turkey, Armenia and Iraq.

"To increase the country’s power grid sustainability, Iran has embarked on joint ventures to synchronize its electricity network with those of regional countries," the official said, noting that under swap deals, Iran exports electricity to Armenia and Azerbaijan in winter and imports it when domestic demand soars in summer.

Highlighting Iran’s electricity consumption that reached a peak of 55,400 megawatts in July, Falahatian said that despite high domestic demand, the country has been able to fulfill all its commitment to Iraq during the scorching summer days.

The official noted that Iran is ready to revamp all power production, dispatching and transmission equipment in Iraq in two years once the war-ravaged country is freed from the clutches of the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group that has killed thousands and laid waste to its roads, cities and utilities over the last four years.

Iraq is grappling with a chronic shortage of electricity that has caused lengthy blackouts and mass protests against its government, particularly during the hot summer season when electricity demand for cooling soars. The country also depends on Iranian gas to feed three power plants—Rumaila, Shatt al-Basra and al-Najibiyah—to partially offset the blackouts.

Reportedly, Iran was exporting some 1,500 megawatts of electricity to its neighbor as of November 2016, when Iraq defaulted on its debt payments. Plans were to increase exports to 2,000 MW.

According to Falahatian, Iraq's unpaid dues for importing Iranian electricity amounted to $800 million by August.

Jarayan hoped that Iran's private sector shows more enthusiasm to rehabilitate electricity grid in Iraq, as it is equipped with cutting-edge know-how.

---- Tehran Hydropower Capacity

In related news, officials said on Monday hydroelectric power plants around the capital city of Tehran generated close to 252,000 megawatt/hours of electricity during the first five months of the current fiscal that started in March.

According to Mohammad Shahriari, the head of hydropower installations in Tehran Regional Water Company, TRWC is in charge of four hydropower plants, namely Latyan and Kalan in the east as well as Taleqan and Amir Kabir to the west of Tehran, whose nominal capacity stands at 268 MW.

Giving a breakdown on each power plant's production in the period, the official added that Amir Kabir, Kalan, Latyan and Taleqan power stations generated 97.500 MW, 78,100 MW, 39.200 MW and 37,600 MW of electricity respectively.

"One of the major advantages of the hydroelectric power plants is little reliance on any fuel and feedstock for power generation," Shahriari said, adding that since such plants do not burn any fuel no pollution is caused by them.

It does not emit harmful gases and particulate matter, thus keeps the surrounding atmosphere clean and healthy for living. In addition, the life of hydroelectric power plants is longer than the life of thermal power plants.

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