Indigenizing Power Plant Equipment Is a Compulsion
EghtesadOnline: Thermal Power Plants Holding Company has plans to indigenize almost 80% of equipment for power plants, director general of the Technology and Indigenization of Power Plants Office at the TPPHC said.
"So far contracts worth $23 million have been signed with domestic manufacturers and knowledge-based companies to produce parts for power stations," Ali Isapour was quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency.
“Importing the parts would cost at least $38 million.”
Under the present conditions, wherein import of spare parts and equipment is limited (due to the US sanctions) “if we do not embark on the indigenization process plants will face closures if problems arise,” the official noted.
Thermal plants account for 80% of total power output (84 gigawatts) in the country of 83 million people. Eighty thermal power plants with 65,841 MW capacity are operational.
The United States slapped tough economic sanctions after Donald Trump unilaterally abandoned the landmark Iran nuclear deal in May 2018. The sanctions, particularly on the energy, banking, insurance and shipping sectors, bar US companies from trade with Iran. Foreign firms are not spared.
Temperature in a steam unit rises up to 565 degrees centigrade but can reach 1,260 degrees. Equipment and parts that can withstand such high heat are sensitive.
Another problem of thermal power plants is that many have long outlived their usefulness. Power plants built more than half a century ago are still in service largely due to the government’s inability to replace them under the difficult economic conditions.
“Equipment and parts used in power stations must be repaired or replaced after a certain period,” Isapour said.
Local companies manufacture more than 20,000 components used in power plants and have approval from the Institute of Standards and Industrial Research of Iran.
In addition to upholding national standards, the parts are sent to international institutions for tests and verification.
The official said $1 million has been earmarked for R&D projects including for universities. Iran is among the top five countries in the world in power plant construction and manufactures a variety of machineries, turbines, generators and control systems.
THPCC oversees dozens of fossil fuel power plants with installed capacity of over 65,000 MW -- the bulk of Iran's electricity demand. It also is in charge of building 7,000 MW of gas-powered units for the Shiraz, Tabriz, Kashan, Urmia and Chabahar combined cycle power plants.