EghtesadOnline: Most of the equipment used in thermal power plants has been indigenized, deputy of the strategic production department at the Thermal Power Plant Holding Company said Sunday.
Temperature at a steam unit rises up to 565 degrees centigrade but can get as hot as 1,260 degrees. “Equipment and parts that can withstand such high temperature obviously are sensitive. We have succeeded in making the parts with help from our universities and the Energy Research Institute,” IRNA quoted Abdolrasoul Pishahang as saying.
Local companies annually manufacture about 1,000 components used in power plants and their quality is approved by the Institute of Standards and Industrial Research of Iran.
“In addition to upholding national standards, the highly sensitive parts are sent to international institutions for further verification,” Financial Tribune quoted Pishahang as saying.
He cited one of the problems of thermal power plants in the country as being too old. "We have power stations that were built in the 1950s.”
The government wants to sell power plants to private companies in the framework of its declared privatization program that albeit has not produced the desired results.
A case in point is the loss-making power sector. Private companies already in this industry complain that the business is simply economically unfeasible because of the highly controversial and prohibitive subsidy problem.
Electricity, like water, gasoline, gas and some basic foods, is subsidized in Iran – a decades-old economic policy the government visibly cannot afford, but is hesitant to say or reverse.
Maintenance programs for all 84 thermal power plants, which started last September are in the final stage and will be over in June -- before the onset of summer.
“Through maintenance programs we have added 226 megawatts to the national output,” Pishahang was quoted as saying.
This has been done at a much lower cost compared to the construction of a power plant with the same capacity.
Constructing a new plant is costly, almost $600 per kilowatt. “We have significantly increased the capacity of the plants with barely 3% of the cost of building a new power station ($20 per kilowatt).”
Cooling Adds 389 MW
Moreover, overall capacity has been increased by cooling thermal power plants as production capacity falls by 6.5% for every 10 degrees rise in heat.
“Cooling the plants costs about $50 per kilowatt, which is cost effective compared to the money needed for building a new power plant,” Pishahang said, adding that the measures undertaken in this regard will boost electricity generation by 389 MW this year.
Therefore, the maintenance programs in total have added 615 MW to the current installed capacity that is 81,000 MW.
TPPHC deputy noted that the new capacity is expected to help reduce the periodic outages during the summer season.
The routine process of overhaul for all the thermal stations is expected to cost $460 million, reports said earlier.
Iran's power industry is 14th in the world in terms of output. A large part of electricity (85%) is produced by fossil fuel-powered plants.
Steps have been taken to convert conventional plants into combined-cycle units as the latter use both gas and steam turbines to produce up to 50% more electricity from the same fuel than a traditional simple cycle plant. The waste heat from the gas turbines is sent to nearby steam turbines that again generate electricity.
Reducing power wastage in the production, transfer and distribution networks, in addition to enhancing the efficiency of power plants, is a primary goal of the Energy Ministry.