By Ebrahim Fallahi

Iran emerging as regional electricity hub by synchronizing grid with neighbors

September 11, 2020 - 14:17

TEHRAN – As one of the major players in West Asia’s energy market, Iran is now emerging as a major electricity hub in the region as the country is following a comprehensive plan for synchronizing its power grid with the neighboring countries.

Iraq was the first neighbor whose national electricity network was synchronized with the Islamic Republic’s power grid back in November 2019, and now the Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian has announced that the electricity networks of Russia and Azerbaijan are the next in line for becoming linked with the Iranian grid in the coming months.

“Within the next few months, the study project of synchronization of the electricity networks of Iran, Azerbaijan, and Russia will be completed and then the executive operations will begin,” Ardakanian told IRNA on Friday.

According to the minister, there are two possible routes for the synchronization of Iran and Russia’s power grids, one of which is through Armenia and Georgia and the other is through Azerbaijan.

“We will welcome any of these two paths which becomes available sooner,” the official said. 

However, it seems that the route through Azerbaijan is currently more plausible and Iran is more inclined toward this country since, in a meeting with Azerbaijan’s Deputy Prime Minister Shahin Mustafayev back in February 2019, Ardakanian had announced that the two countries electricity networks will become synchronized.

The synchronization of power grids with the neighboring countries, not only enhances Iran’s electricity exchanges with them, but it will also increase the political stance of the country in the region.

In November 2019, Deputy Head of Iran Electrical Industry Syndicate Payam Baqeri said: “the synchronization of Iran's electricity grid and the regional countries will enhance cooperation while strengthening diplomatic power.”

According to the official, Iran has the potential to become a major energy hub in the region considering the country’s large capacity of power plants and also the demand from the countries in the region.

Currently, Iran has electricity exchange with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Turkmenistan, and Afghanistan.

The country’s total electricity exports vary depending on the hot and cold seasons of the year, since during the hot season which is the peak consumption period, the country’s electricity exports decreases, however electrical communication with neighboring countries continues.

Enjoying abundant gas resources, which is the main fuel for the majority of the country’s power plants, Iran currently has the capacity to produce about 85,500 megawatts [85.5 gigawatts (GW)] of electricity.

Currently, combined cycle power plants account for the biggest share in the country’s total power generation capacity followed by gas power plants.


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