By: Ebrahim Fallahi

Iran on verge of becoming electricity hub in region

November 3, 2017 - 20:30

TEHRAN – Iranian Deputy Energy Minister Sattar Mahmoudi said Iran aims to become an official power hub in the region as it is playing a crucial role in supplying electricity to its neighbors and beyond.

Mahmoudi made the remarks in an exclusive interview with Tehran Times on the sidelines of the 23rd Press Exhibition on Wednesday.

The official noted that the country has electricity trade with almost all of its neighboring countries for some of which like Iraq and Afghanistan Iran is the sole exporter of electricity.

According to Mahmoudi, during the last Iranian calendar year (ended on March 20, 2017), on average, some 1500 MW of electricity was exported to the neighboring countries on a daily basis.

The deputy minister mentioned the country’s capabilities and capacities and said, “Having energy ties with the neighboring countries has helped the energy ministry to develop the infrastructure for expanding its exports destinations and becoming the energy hub of the region,”
“Iran currently ranks 14th among the world’s greatest electricity suppliers and we are also among the top countries with the lowest rate of catastrophic accidents in power sector.”

“That has made Iran a reliable partner for many electricity-importer countries, introducing Iran as the region’s electricity hub,” he added.

The official further noted that the energy ministry is in talks with the neighboring countries to use them as channels to swap electricity to some target regions beyond Iran’s borders.

“We are currently in talks with our target countries, for instance we are hoping to export electricity to Armenia’s neighbors through Armenia and we are also negotiating with Azerbaijan to export electricity to Russia,” he added.

Renewable energies, still young but potent

Mahmoudi further underlined Iran’s great capacities for generation of renewable energies saying, “Our renewable sector is still quite young, for the time being only 420 MW of renewable capacity is installed across the country and the ministry has it on the agenda to increase this figure to 1000 MW by the end of the current Iranian calendar year (March 20, 2018).”

The deputy minister went on saying that lack of investment and necessary equipment are among the main hurdles in the way of Iran’s renewables’ development.

“About 85 percent of the country’s electricity is generated using fossil fuels; this has caused harm to the environment,” Mahmoudi said.

Touching upon the energy ministry’s plans for future development of renewables in the country, the official said, “Adding 25,000 MW of capacity to the country’s grid has been targeted in the Sixth Five-Year National Development Plan (2016-2021) from which 5,000 MW would be supplied from renewable sources.”

The official finally noted that supplying the country’s domestic needs has always been the energy ministry’s top priority and said, “We only export electricity when the domestic needs have been fully met.”

PHOTO: Iranian Deputy Energy Minister Sattar Mahmoudi (2nd R) visiting the 23rd Press Exhibition on Wednesday

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