By Mahnaz Abdi

Renewable energy development behind schedule

August 11, 2021 - 16:1

TEHRAN- Renewables, including hydropower, account for about seven percent of Iran’s total power generation, versus natural gas’ 90 percent share.

Based on Iran’s Sixth Five-Year National Development Plan (2016-2021), the country was aiming for 5,000 megawatts (MW) increase in renewable capacity to meet growing domestic demand and expand its presence in the regional electricity market.

But in the final year of the plan, only one-fifth of the figure has been achieved.

Iran was supposed to become a regional hub in the field of energy in the past Iranian calendar decade (March 2011-March 2021), but evidence shows that the country is facing a shortage even in the supply of electricity inside the country, an issue that many believe that could be achieved by developing renewable energy and increasing efficiency of the thermal power plants.

After the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known commonly as the Iran nuclear deal, in July 2015, many foreign delegations came to Iran for making investment and constructing renewable power plants in the country.

One of the major projects implemented in this due was a solar farm with a generation capacity of 20 megawatts which was inaugurated in the southern Kerman province in July 2017.

In the inauguration ceremony of the mentioned solar farm, the ground was also broken for another solar farm with 100 MW capacity, when Iran took a big step toward harnessing renewable energies.

Covering 44 hectares of land, the farm includes 76,912 solar panels, each having a generation capacity of 260 watts of electricity.

The project to build this farm was jointly implemented by Iran’s Mokran Solar Energy Company, as the general contractor, Germany’s ADORE GmbH Company, as the program manager, and Switzerland’s DURION AG Company, as the main investor that invested $27 million.

According to the data provided by Mokran Company, it was the largest solar farm in Iran.

With the non-implementation of the JCPOA, and re-imposition of the sanctions, the presence of foreign companies in Iran diminished and since then, the pace of development of renewable energy in the country has been significantly slowed down.

While Iran enjoys some proper condition for the development of renewable energies, unfortunately the country’s lagging behind its plan in this due.

Lamenting this situation, the vice chairman of Iran Electrical Industry Syndicate (IEIS) told IRIB on Wednesday that there is only 800 MW installed capacity of the renewable power plants in the country.

Noting that the uneven economy of the electricity industry has hindered development in this sector, Payam Baqeri said: "Lack of financial resources and problems that we put in the way of investors are two important factors preventing the development of renewable energy and reducing the acceptance for investment in this sector."

Releasing of resources and sustainable income in the electricity industry will greatly contribute to the development of power plant capacities, he said, adding, “According to the plans, we should have up to 100,000 MW of installed power plants in the country this year, but the limitations in financial resources have led to a decrease in investment and a shortage of 15,000 MW of electricity compared to the needs in the country”.

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