EghtesadOnline: The National Iranian Gas Company can double the volumes it delivers to thermal power plants and supply at least 310 million cubic meters of natural gas a day to power stations at the peak of electricity consumption in mid-summer, the company spokesman said.
“Thermal plants receive almost 150 mcm of gas every day that is projected to double in July and September when the plants work at full capacity,” Mohammad Asgari was quoted as saying by ISNA on Saturday.
Consumption of gas in households and industries in June has plunged to as low as 175 mcm/d and is expected to decrease further as the mercury rises, he noted.
“Low consumption (175 mcm/d) makes it possible to provide (thermal) power stations with as much as gas they may need to generate power in summertime.”
Consumption of the sectors plummeted by 70% (or 455 mcm/d) in the last two weeks as the summer sets in pushing the temperature to new highs.
The mercury in Tehran, and other cities with relatively moderate climate (compared to the southern regions), has been near 35 degrees Celsius in the past several days.
Compared to January and February (when the mercury fell to minus zero in most parts of Iran and consumption reached 630 mcm/d), the official said nationwide consumption now has plummeted by 455 million cubic meters per day -- down 70%.
National gas production and supply capacity is 870 million cubic meters per day with 50 mcm/d is exported to Iraq and Turkey.
Almost all thermal power stations (about 100) get natural gas as feedstock unless there is a shortage in winter in which case they use mazut as an alternative fuel.
“So far 85 power plants use natural gas as feedstock,” Asgari was quoted as saying. Gas accounts for about 95% of the total fuel consumed in thermal power stations.
Referring to the high gas consumption in winter, he said close to 120 mcm/d was to be delivered to power plants, but this was reduced to less than 40 mcm/d in the cold season. Instead mazut was supplied because of which routine maintenance work will take one month longer than usual and end in June.
Obviously, with use of more dirty fuels (for power production), more toxic fumes is hurled into the atmosphere making a bad air pollution situation worse.
Almost 40% of gas in the Middle East is consumed in Iran, an unreasonably high level by any norm. The residential sector is the largest consumer followed by power plants and petrochemical companies.
With a population of 82 million, Iran consumes more than 140 billion cubic meters of gas annually, not far from China, the world’s second-largest economy and the most populous country in the world, which consumed 191 billion cubic meters in 2015.
In related news, ISNA quoted Mostafa Rajabi Mashhadi, the Energy Ministry spokesman for the power department as saying that the average temperature in Iran (in summer) has risen by 1.5 degrees Celsius over the last decade. This means the power sector needs to generate at least 5,000 more megawatts between July and September.
Power consumption exceeded 53, gigawatts on June 1, up 3,500 MW compared to the same day last year.
“With higher temperatures forecast for the coming weeks, this volume of electricity consumption (53 GW) at this time of the year is cause for concern. Usually this happens in July.”
In 2019, network load hit a record high of 57,500 MW and it is projected to reach 60GW this summer.
If peak demand exceeds 60 GW, load shedding and outages will be inevitable as the national grid cannot take a load higher than 60,000 megawatts, the state-run Iran Power Generation, Distribution and Transmission Company (Tavanir) has warned.