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EghtesadOnline: Plans call for raising electricity production capacity by 150 megawatts via small-scale power plants and minimize the risk of power outages during the hot summer season, Arash Kordi, managing director of Iran's Power Generation, Distribution and Transfer Company (Tavanir), said.

Production capacity from small-scale plants increased by roughly 150 MW in the previous fiscal year that ended on March 20, ISNA reported him as saying on  Friday.

An official at Tavanir who spoke on the condition that he not be identified, told the Financial Tribune that the small-scale power stations are generators that feed on natural gas and are connected to the electricity grid. More than 700 such plants so far have been installed across the country.

"These plants are cost-effective and obviate the need for building capital-intensive power stations," he added.

According to Financial Tribune, some small-scale plants, known as standalone or off-the-grid systems, can be used in far-flung regions where it is difficult to extend power lines. Such plants may use coal, bio-fuel or renewable energy sources such as solar to produce electricity, but the official acknowledged that Iran's small-scale units "need access to both electricity and gas networks."

Proximity to end-user resulting in potentially fewer transmission losses and energy waste are the merits of small-scale power plants. Additionally, they do not require large amounts of funding or a working capital.

Kordi stressed that the small but reliable sources of power supply will ease the pressure off larger power plants when electricity demand for cooling systems surges in summer.

Iran's installed power production capacity is around 76,000 megawatts. Demand is expected to shoot up to 56,000 MW this summer, up from a record-high of 52,790 MW last year.

  Power Exports to Iraq

Asked about the current status of power export to Iraq, the official said power supply to Iraq resumed over a month ago after supplies came to a halt due to the expiration of an export deal between the two countries.

According to Kordi, several memoranda of understanding have been signed by the two neighbors to maintain the current level of exports.

The government in Baghdad recently paid $350 million as part of its debt for power imports from Iran, which had piled up to $1.3 billion.

As the largest exporter of electricity in the Middle East, Iran supplies power to Armenia, Pakistan, Turkey, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Iran electricity Iran power Arash Kordi Iran electricity production Iran Power Units