EghtesadOnline: Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian said on Tuesday Tehran and Yerevan need to boost efforts to complete their joint projects in the energy sector, including the third electricity transmission line.
Ardakanian made the statement in a meeting with Armenian Minister of Energy Infrastructure and Natural Resources Artur Grigoryan in Yerevan, Mehr News Agency reported.
Highlighting the importance of the northwestern neighbor as a gateway for power exchanges, the official urged Iran Power and Water Equipment and Services Export Company and Electric Networks of Armenia to increase pace.
Armenia is connected to Iran through two electricity lines and a third is under construction. According to reports, the new power line, to be completed by the end of 2018 at an estimated cost of $107 million, is part of an agreement signed by Iran, Russia, Armenia and Georgia to synchronize their power grids by 2019, paving the way for electricity exchange between the states, Financial Tribune reported.
The line will boost electricity exchange between the two countries by four times to around 1,200 megawatts once completed. The two countries have different seasons of peak electricity demand. Iran exports electricity to Armenia in winter and imports it when domestic demand rises in summer. With an installed power production capacity of 80,000 MW, Iran needs to import over 700 MW during summer peaks.
Ardakanian referred to the protracted construction operations at Meghri Dam, stressing that "the project needs a boost as soon as possible".
Meghri is a hydroelectric dam, currently under construction on Aras River near Armenia's southern town of Meghri along the Armenia–Iran border. Its construction started in 2012.
The dam will consist of two 130 megawatts (170,000 hp) hydroelectric power stations on the Iranian side and Meghri on the Armenian side. It is estimated to cost around $400 million.
Grigoryan referred to the contamination issue of Aras River in northwestern Iran and expressed willingness to establish a joint committee to study the condition of the water resource in the near future.
Aras has long been struggling with pollution caused by effluents from Armenian power plants and aluminum factories, compelling the officials to think of a solution. In 2013, the Iran-Armenia joint project of monitoring Aras water became operational in 17 stations across the provinces of Ardabil, East and West Azarbaijan.
As per the agreement, Iranian and Armenian experts constantly analyze the chemical features of the river's water and the amount of heavy metals, including arsenic, cadmium and lead.
The two sides stressed the need to remove formalities to accelerate the projects' implementation.
During his visit to the Caucasian state, Ardakanian also met with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.