EghtesadOnline: A study on the synchronization of Iran’s and Russian electricity networks is to be completed in the next few months and if all goes well executive operation will begin, the energy minister said Friday.
“There are two routes through which our power grid can be connected to Russia’s; one is via the Republic of Azerbaijan and the other through Armenia and Georgia,” IRNA quoted Reza Ardakanian as saying. “We would welcome any of the two paths.” He did not give a dateline for the publication of the research.
The idea of linking the two has been in the works for years. In 2015, Iran and Azerbaijan signed a memorandum on the exchange of electricity.
Iran’s annual electricity export to neighbors is close to 2,000 MW with the bulk going to Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. Azerbaijan and Armenia supply electricity to Iran under a swap agreement.
In 2015, Iran and Azerbaijan signed a MoU on the exchange of electricity. The two neighbors can annually exchange close to 700 megawatts. In 2018 Azerbaijan, Russia and Iran created a working group to chart ways to synchronize their power systems.
The work group includes 18 people (six from each side) with a mandate for preparing a feasibility study on integrating the power systems of the three Caspian states to create the North-South power corridor.
Last month, the newly appointed Azeri Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov met his counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow and voiced his country's support for the implementation of some joint projects, including construction of the North-South transport corridor.
Construction work is in progress for the third Iran-Armenia power transmission line, which upon completion will boost the potential of electricity trade not only between the countries but also with Georgia and Russia.
Construction of the high-voltage transmission line is expected to be complete by 2021. The line is designed to boost Armenia’s electricity export to Iran that is paid for with natural gas via a 140km gas pipeline.
Iran and Armenia have long been cooperating in gas and electricity swaps. Two-way economic and political ties have grown in tandem with trade expansion.
As per a 2004 deal, Iran sells gas to Armenia and in exchange imports electricity in summer. Iran's natural gas is used by the republic to generate electricity that is exported to Iran.
Tehran receives 3.2 kilowatt-hours of electricity from Yerevan in exchange for 1 cubic meter of natural gas. Armenia is keen on boosting gas import from Iran by another 600,000 cubic meters per day. Currently it imports one million cubic meters.
Armenia exports 350 megawatts of electricity to Iran a year. With the completion of the third line, this volume would reach one gigawatt. Expansion of the line is seen as necessary to synchronize Iran’s power grid with Georgia and Russia.