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EghtesadOnline: An estimated 260 billion kilowatt hours of power is generated annually in Iran, of which 11% or 29 billion kWh is wasted during transmission to end-users and in power stations.

From generation to delivery to consumption, inefficiency at every step of the ‘power journey’ results in massive waste, ISNA reported.

Substantial volumes of power are wasted on the way (mostly due to old and defective equipment in substations and lengthy power lines), in houses and power plants, according to Financial Tribune.

Power wastage in Iran (11%) surpasses the global average (8.3%).

Today, the majority of the electricity produced in the country originates from fossil fuels including natural gas (sometimes diesel). 

According to the Energy Ministry, efficiency of these plants is about 37%, meaning close to two-thirds of the energy in the fuel (natural gas or diesel) is lost—vented as heat.

There are limits to what can be done to address this problem as the losses are largely because of the thermal process in large power plants since heat is a by-product of this type of generation and it has to be released in some form.

Nonetheless, by capturing wasted heat energy and putting it to meaningful use (for example conversion of single-cycle power plants into combined cycles), efficiency of the thermal power plants increased by 1% in the last five years. The improvement, though negligible, has reduced fossil fuel consumption by 2.5% for generating one kilowatt of power.

Power wastage in the national electricity grid declined from 15.2% to 11.1% between 2013 and 2018. However, Iran is among countries in which massive amounts of power is wasted.

If the wastage was not cut, the government would have to build new power stations to produce at least 2,500 megawatts costing $1.7 billion, the news outlet noted. 

To generate 2,500 MW close to 8 billion cubic meters of natural gas is needed.



Seventh on the Misuse List

“Iran ranks seventh in the world in terms of power wastage," ISNA said. 

Iraq (50.6%), India (19.4), Pakistan (17.4%), Brazil (15.8), Turkey (14.8), Mexico (13.7%) are the top six.  

The news agency said $400 million is required to cut electricity wastage to less than 10%, in which case the country will be placed beside Portugal and Spain.

Electricity is usually supplied from large power plants to consumers via extensive networks and rugged terrain. Transmission over long distances adds to power loss. 

Replacing old equipment, power lines, utility posts, cables and meters as well as penalizing illegal use (theft) of electricity are among measures which need to be taken by the utilities to reduce the loss.

Power wastage in China, the US, France, Italy, England, South Africa and Canada is as low as 5.5%, 5.9%, 6.4%, 6.7%, 8.3%, 8.4% and 8.9% respectively.

Subscribers’ habits of consumption also add to high levels of wastage. Think of all the gadgets that are left on or running (standby mode) that can and should be switched off (computers, TV, phone chargers, etc.).

Aging and inefficient appliances use more electricity than necessary. For example, incandescent (traditional) light bulbs can use at least 4 times as much electricity as energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs. 

Most of the energy traditional bulbs use generates heat, not light.

Similarly, inefficient refrigerators can use 15% more power (or much more depending on age) than efficient alternatives.


Iran power stations waste power Electrical Efficiency transmission end-users