Iran to Optimize Energy Use

Iran to Optimize Energy UseIran to Optimize Energy Use

To help rein in its rising carbon emissions and meet its 2030 climate change target, Iran is set to embark on a project with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization to reduce its energy footprint by optimizing its generation and consumption.

“A joint research project will begin with UNIDO for efficient use of energy,” Seyyed Mehdi Mirsalehi, an official at the Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade, told IRNA.

The end goal is to find ways to reduce the energy footprint of and carbon emissions in key sectors, namely oil, iron and steel, petrochemicals, brickmaking and cement. The ministry will function as the project coordinator, liaising between relevant entities to help ensure the plan’s success.

“The research will help us overhaul our energy policies,” Mirsalehi said, adding that access to modern technology will allow Iran’s big industries to curb energy consumption without sacrificing production.

A climate plan of action unveiled by the government last November explicitly states the need for significant policy reform in the energy sector, which is responsible for over 90% of Iran’s greenhouse gas emissions. With the lifting of economic sanctions in January, Iran hopes to be able to access modern technology in order to achieve what some call “unambitious” climate targets.

In the UN climate change talks in Paris (Nov. 30-Dec. 11), which led to the signing of the historic Paris Climate Deal, Iran pledged to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 4% relative to the business-as-usual scenario by 2030, while suggesting that it could increase its pledge to 12% with financial assistance from the international community.

Official estimates suggest that $17.5 billion in investment are needed to ensure Iran meets its unconditional pledge, i.e. without international aid, of 4% reduction in emissions by 2030.

To meet the conditional pledge of 12% reduction, it would need about $35 billion in international aid.

According to the Iran Meteorological Organization, the country’s greenhouse gas emissions have increased by 3% in the past decade.

With its annual carbon dioxide emissions exceeding 800 million tons, Iran is among the top 10 producers of the gas.

  A Lot of Waste

Whereas in developing countries an increase in greenhouse emissions is a sign of a growing economy, the same cannot be said about Iran, where the emissions have increased despite years of economic stagnation, which is indicative of the enormous cost and waste of energy.

Buildings account for over 35% of Iran’s total energy consumption.

“Buildings are very energy-intensive, gobbling up 50% of electricity and 40% of gas consumption,” Ahmadreza Tavakkoli, director of Iran Energy Efficiency Organization, was quoted as saying by Shana last week.

“Energy consumption in buildings is four times higher than the global average … whereas the lion’s share of energy in developed countries is consumed in industries,” he noted.

Many, including Mirsalehi, blame Iran’s high energy consumption on the fact that the sector, especially electricity, is heavily subsidized. In other words, consumers pay a fraction of the real cost. This has not only led to more energy use (because it is cheap), but it has also taken a toll on the Energy Ministry’s revenues, according to Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian.

“If electricity was sold at real prices, the ministry would be able to not only settle its unpaid bills ($11 billion) to the private sector, but also implement crucial development plans for the industry,” he said in January.