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EghtesadOnline: Thermal power production reached 127 billion kilowatt hours from the beginning of the current fiscal year in late March, up 11% compared to the same period in 2019, head of Thermal Power Plants Holding Company said.

"Thermal plants running on gas and steam accounted for 92% of the total electricity production in the 150-day period," Mohsen Tarztalab was quoted as saying by the Energy Ministry’s news portal.

Total power generation in the period has surpassed 140 billion kWh, of which 92%, or 127 billion kWh, was generated by 95 thermal plants, he said.

The output in 2019 (in the corresponding period) was around 114 billion kWh, which has risen by 12 billion kWh in 2020.

“Adding 1,600 megawatts to thermal power production (since 2019) and routine overhaul of power plants helped raise output by 11%.”

According to the official, gas-powered plants account for 36% or 70 billion cubic meters of total gas consumption per annum. Iran’s annual gas output is around 200 bcm.

“As we improve power plants’ efficiency (now 32%), more gas will be available for other needs, including exports and converting gas into value-added products.”

The National Iranian Gas Company annually exports about 20 bcm of gas to Iraq and Turkey.

Referring to development plans, the TPPHC chief said with the construction of 46 steam units total production will increase by about 7,500 megawatts without raising fuel consumption.

Producing the same amount of power by gas units needs more than 12 bcm of gas.

So far steam units in power plants in Kashan, Asalouyeh in Bushehr Province, Urmia (West Azarbaijan), Parand in Tehran and Jahrom (Fars Province) have been synchronized to the national grid, he said, adding that three more units will be launched by next March.


Enhancing Efficiency

Gas-fired power plants in Iran have a capacity of more than 20,000 MW but operate at 32% efficiency, he recalled. 

“Construction of steam units next to gas turbines and converting conventional power stations into combined-cycle power will lift efficiency to nearly 45%.”

Tarztalab noted that an estimated 313 billion kilowatt hours of power was produced in 2019, of which one-fourth, or 80 billion kWh, was via steam units in combined cycle power plants, hydro power stations, the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant and renewables.

Referring to the share of steam, he said it accounted for 42 billion kWh and helped save 11 bcm of natural gas in one year.

Of the 80 billion kWh generated from non-fossil sources, hydroelectric dams produced over 28 billion kilowatt-hours. Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant accounted for nearly 9.9 billion kWh and the balance (100 million kWh) came from renewables, helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 40 million tons.

Combined cycle units employ a heat recovery steam generator that captures heat from high temperature exhaust gases to produce steam, which is then supplied to a steam turbine to generate additional electric power. 

These power plants use both gas and steam turbines to produce up to 50% more electricity from the same fuel than traditional power plants.


Output power plants Thermal power production