EghtesadOnline: Iran has produced 2.72 billion kilowatts-hour from renewables in the past nine years, in its stable and steady bid to shift focus from fossil fuels to greener energies.
According to data released by the Energy Ministry, the share of renewables in Iran’s energy mix has reached 575 MW since the move gained momentum in 2009.
The outlook is part of efforts to raise the meager share of renewable sources in Iran's power industry, which is mostly dependent on fossil fuels to meet its electricity demand.
Some 62,000 megawatts, or 80% of Iran’s 77,000-MW output, are generated from thermal plants that burn fossil fuels. In addition, 12,000 MW come from hydroelectric plants and 1,000 MW from the sole nuclear power plant in Bushehr, according to Financial Tribune.
The Energy Ministry is keen to make good on a promise to add at least 1,000 megawatts, or 1 GW, to total power generating capacity each year by 2022 with the help of the private sector due to the country's huge potentials to harness renewable energies, including geothermal, solar and wind power.
According to the report, renewable projects with a total capacity of 550 MW are currently under construction to scale the renewables' share.
According to the ministry, renewables have helped prevent the flaring of 588 million cubic meters of natural gas during the nine-year period.
The move has also curbed the spread of about 1.43 million tons of greenhouse gases.
Iran has promised to curtail greenhouse gas emissions by increasing power production from renewable sources to 7,500 MW by the end of the next decade.
The country has also pledged to slow climate change by promoting cleaner energies. In December 2015, 195 nations, including Iran, signed an agreement at the Paris Climate Conference to move away from fossil fuels with the goal of limiting a rise in average global temperatures to well below 2 degrees Celsius.
Turning to renewables for new power generation is not simply an environmentally conscious decision, but it is now overwhelmingly a smart economic and futuristic one.
According to the report, utilizing the renewable powers in the past decade has helped save 456 million liters of water in the country, where rainfall is highly seasonal and many provinces suffer from drastic water scarcity.
The current water year (started Sept. 23, 2017) has been the worst in 40 years.
The government expects the transition to gather momentum, supporting jobs, growth, improved health, national resilience and climate mitigation across the world.
The renewable energies have created over 47,000 direct and indirect jobs in the country.
With more than 300 sunny days throughout the year, well above the likes of the UK with 150 days of sunlight per year on average and with far less intensity, Iran has remarkable potentials to expand solar energy infrastructure and attract foreign investments.
Currently, 45% of Iran's renewable energy are generated from wind turbines, 35% from photovoltaic panels, 16% via hydropower plants and 4% through technologies such as biomass and water heat recycling.