EghtesadOnline: The first phase of the first geothermal power plant near the city of Meshkinshahr in Ardebil Province is scheduled to come online in March 2021; however, some experts in the power industry believe construction of such facilities are economically unfeasible.
The plant has a capacity of 55 megawatts. With 5 MW the first phase will be operational by the end of the current Persian calendar year in March 2021), Bargh News reported.
Geothermal power is considered a renewable energy because its source is the unlimited amount of heat generated by the Earth's core.
According to reports, the project costs over $9 million, which some in the electricity industry consider high for the construction of a power plant while solar and wind can be harnessed with much less.
However, director of the project has pointed to the advantages of the geothermal plant compared to other renewable plants, saying that geothermal power plants generate electricity 24 hours a day irrespective of weather conditions, which results in greater stability and higher efficiency.
Sohail Porkhial noted that besides producing electricity, the heat generated by such plants can be used in various industries and to heat buildings.
Geothermal energy is the heat that comes from the sub-surface of the Earth. It is contained in the rocks and fluids beneath the earth's crust and can be found as far down to the Earth's hot molten rock, magma.
Geothermal power plants use heat from deep inside the Earth to generate steam to make electricity.
At a geothermal power plant, wells are drilled between 1,500 and 3,500 meters deep into the Earth to pump steam or hot water to the surface. When the water reaches the surface, the pressure drops, which causes the water to turn into steam. The steam spins a turbine, which is connected to a generator that produces electricity.
Eleven wells have been drilled at the site near Meshkinshahr at a depth of up to 3,500 meters.
Unlike thermal units that burn fossil fuel, geothermal plants produce little emission. Carbon emission from geothermal power stations is less than 5% of conventional coal-fired plants.
Using geothermal also eliminates the need for mining, processing, and transportation required for electricity generation from fossil fuel.
The plant in Meshkinshahr will be expanded to supply regions in the northwestern province for domestic and industrial use.
“We imported equipment for the construction and operation of the geothermal power plant from New Zealand. Our engineers have succeeded in indigenizing the knowhow for the equipment and we are self-reliant in geothermal exploration,” Porkhial added.
Geothermal reservoirs are replenished naturally and have massive potential for power generation. Iceland, the US, the Philippines, Japan, Germany, Turkey and New Zealand are among countries generating electricity from geothermal resources.
The global geothermal power market is poised to grow by 41.49 terawatt hours during 2020-2024, progressing at a compound annual growth rate of over 8% during the forecast period.
Geothermal use is emerging as one of the most reliable sources of renewable energy. It is gaining prominence over conventional and non-renewable sources because of its eco-friendly nature and constant availability.