EghtesadOnline: As per the Sixth Five-Year Economic Development Plan (2017-22), Iran Power Generation, Distribution and Transmission Company (aka Tavanir) has been obliged to boost the country's electricity trade with its neighbors on northwestern, western and eastern borders, a deputy manager of the company said.
"Iran's top electricity buyer is Iraq, yet its power exchange with Turkmenistan outweighs that of other countries, namely Armenia and Azerbaijan," Seyyed Zaman Hosseini was also quoted as saying by IRNA on Wednesday.
Under swap deals, Iran exports electricity to Armenia and Azerbaijan in winter and imports it when domestic demand soars in summer.
Pointing to Tavanir's policy to increase electricity supply to other states, Hosseini said Iran has embarked on joint ventures to synchronize its electricity network with those of regional countries, Financial Tribune reported.
"The more power trade is promoted with regional states, the faster we can emerge as an electricity hub and a key player in both power generation and export in the Middle East," he said, adding that unlike many neighboring states and some developed countries, Iran has not experienced major blackouts in recent years, thanks to the good performance of the national grid.
Referring to Iran's annual power exports, he said the country's electricity export is three times higher than imports.
According to the official, Iran's electricity industry ranks 14th in the world in terms of output and 18th in terms of consumption.
Highlighting Iran’s electricity consumption that reached a peak of 55,400 megawatts last July, he said that despite high domestic demand, Tavanir has been able to provide subscribers with the much-needed power.
Underscoring the capability of domestic experts in building high-tech power plants, he said Iran has become almost self-sufficient in constructing gas power stations. Hosseini noted that the household sector accounts for 33% of total consumption, while agricultural, industrial and trade sectors constitute 15.3%, 32.7% and 7.4% of power consumers respectively.
According to the official, to fight the menace of air pollution, Iran needs to expand renewable energy generating capacity, including wind and solar, by 5,000 megawatts over the next five years.
Hosseini said the target is looking increasingly feasible, thanks to the launch of several solar plants in recent months as well as a slew of factories for manufacturing photovoltaic panels. Reports issued by state-owned Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Organization, which is also known as Satba, indicates that small-scale solar plants with a capacity ranging from 7 MW up to 30 MW are operational or in different stages of development.
Referring to the attraction of $4 billion in foreign investment to develop renewable energy projects in the last four years, he said, "The government has been successful in winning the private sectors' trust to invest in the fledgling industry, yet there is a long way to go to accomplish the long-term goals."
According to Hosseini, since the beginning of President Hassan Rouhani's first tenure in 2013, effective steps have been taken to encourage domestic and foreign investments in expanding renewable sources of energy, including a pledge by Satba on guaranteed purchase of electricity from renewable power producers for 20 years.