EghtesadOnline: Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian on Thursday inaugurated a 230-kilovolt electrical substation in Germi in the northwestern Ardabil Province.
Ardakanian said the project, which has come on stream at a cost of 440 billion rials ($10.48 million), is expected to help stabilize power supply in the northeastern region, Mehr News Agency reported.
"The substation will boost the province's power transmission and distribution, reduce outages and help meet the demands of the agricultural and industrial sectors," he said.
The minister added that the venture is not the only electrical project in the green province, as several others are also currently underway, Financial Tribune reported.
"Some five power schemes have been devised for Ardabil Province in the current fiscal [started in March], among which are the construction of new substations in Khalkhal," he said.
The projects will make use of cutting-edge technologies, including two 230-kV linear feeders, two 230-kV transformer feeders and six 20-kV outgoing feeders.
"Germi's substation is equipped with two 43-kV transformer feeders and four 63-kV linear feeders," he said.
--- Water Plans
During his two-day stay in the province, Ardakanian visited several other projects, including Emarat Dam in Germi.
"Water and electricity schemes worth 60 trillion rials ($1.43 billion) are underway in Ardabil," he said.
Ardakanian further said future plans aim to help make up for shortcomings caused by problems such as the systemic decline in precipitation across the country.
Data from Iran Water Resources Management Company, a subsidiary of Energy Ministry, show that since the beginning of the current water year (Sept. 2017), the country hardly received 166 millimeters of rain—a drastic fall of 26.6% compared to last year.
The minister noted that the phenomenon has made a bad situation worse, which further demands a more prudent approach to energy consumption.
According to Ardakanian, the country's power consumption has surpassed the forecast levels, which is alarming and calls for more discretion in consumption patterns.
With an almost 10% growth rate, the country's power consumption was expected to reach a peak of 58,000 MW this summer season, but the rubicon has been crossed while the warmest days are not yet here.
"Several incentives have been provided for the agricultural and industrial sectors to improve power and water consumption behaviors. Citizens play the main role in continuing electricity supply," he said.
Iran is the largest electricity producer in the Middle East with an installed capacity of around 80,000 MW. Its power industry ranks 14th globally in terms of output. However, the country needs to import over 700 MW during summer peaks.
High and rising consumption has compelled the government to import more power from neighboring states like the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Commenting on a pledge by the government to increase the role of renewables, the minister noted that moves are underway to expand power generation from renewable sources in hot and dry provinces that are suitable for harnessing solar power.
Iran is keen on developing renewable energy and diversifying its energy mix that relies heavily on fossil fuels for power generation.
Ardakanian said the share of renewables in Iran's energy mix has exceeded 500 megawatts, but it comprises a trivial portion of the country's 80-GW power capacity.
Iran is among a handful of countries with the know-how to build power plants from the ground up. The country wants to expand power generation capacity by 5,000 MW annually through 2022, the end of its Sixth Five-Year Economic Development Plan.