Iran aims to boost renewable energy

August 26, 2006 - 0:0
FLORENCE, ITALY (Reuters) -- Oil-rich Iran aims to generate more of its electricity from renewable energy as it joins global efforts to fight climate change, a top government official told Reuters on Monday.

Iran now makes less than 1% of its electricity from renewable sources, not including hydro plants, but aims to increase that to 1.5% by 2009, Senior deputy energy minister Hamid Chitchian said.

“Iran wants to be in line with the world efforts to curb the world environmental problems,” Chitchian said on the sidelines of a renewable energy congress.

“We have started 10 years ago and we are working very hard to extend the share of renewable energy,” he said.

Chitchian said several projects in wind, solar and photovoltaic energy were in the pipeline and the total investment needed to boost the production capacity was about $750 million. Half of that would be covered by the government and the rest should come from private investors, he said.

“We are open for foreign investors,” Chitchian said, adding the government has already been working with German investors in photovoltaic energy and makes wind turbines under license from Denmark’s Vestas Wind Systems AS.

As in other countries, Iran has been working on reducing costs of generating energy from renewable sources.

They may become competitive with fossil fuel in the next five years, especially if oil prices remain as high as the current $70 a barrel, Chitchian said.

Iran produces 75% of its electricity from gas-fired plants, 10% on hydro plants, less than one percent from renewable sources and the rest from oil-fired plants, he said. Total power generating capacity is about 44,000 mw.