EghtesadOnline: The state-run Iran Power Generation, Distribution and Transmission Company (Tavanir) says the national grid cannot take loads higher than 40 gigawatts in winter.
Mostafa Rajabi Mashhadi, a company spokesman, said if demand surpasses 40,000 megawatts load shedding and outages will be inevitable, Bargh News website reported.
“For the first time in decades, electricity consumption in winter has exceeded 39 GW.”
Compared to last year consumption has risen by a whopping 15%, he said, and added that in January 2020, demand rarely reached 34,000 megawatts. It was 39,500 MW on Monday up 15% compared to the same day in 2020.
Sporadic power cuts in and around Tehran, Qom, Mashhad and Rasht are rooted in several factors, he said. First, close to 90% of electricity demand is met by 123 thermal power plants that can generate about 50,000 MW per day.
“Some plants are disconnected from the national grid for the summer overhaul.” There are five thermal stations in Tehran Province, two of which are under repairs and Tehran Regional Electricity Company has to meet a part of the rising demand from Shahid Salimi Power Plant (Neka) in the northern Mazandaran Province.
To improve supply stability all thermal plants have been synchronized. If a power plant, for instance, in Khuzestan Province faces technical problems the regional electricity company can receive power from Tabriz power station.
Referring to the second issue which has caused temporary outages, he said thermal power plants run on natural gas and if they do not get enough fuel operation suffers.
“When household gas consumption jumps less fuel is available for plants,” he said, and warned that unless consumption declines power cuts will start soon.
At the present consumption levels “even with mazut it will be difficult to cope.” Tavanir insists that power plants in big cities like Tehran have not yet started to use mazut but will if necessary.
Liquid fuels such as diesel or mazut produce huge volumes of carbon dioxide. Mazut also increases the amount of sulfur dioxide (SO2) in the atmosphere.
SO2 emissions contribute to acid rain and the formation of harmful particulates – also known as atmospheric aerosol particles. In addition, SO2 can exacerbate respiratory ailments including asthma, nasal congestion, and pulmonary inflammation.
In related news, IRNA quoted Mohammadreza Joulaee, head of the National Iranian Gas Company Dispatching Department, as saying that total natural gas consumption in the household sector has risen by 30 million cubic meters per day over the past three months compared to a year ago.
“Close to 655 mcm of gas is used daily by this sector, which is at least 30 mcm/d more than in 2019 and 2020.” Of the total daily consumption close to 125 mcm is used in Tehran Province.
The official said household consumption is expected to surpass 700 mcm/d in the coming days, in which case delivery to power plants now around 150 mcm/d will have to be cut by 100 mcm/d.
Total gas output in Iran is around 880 mcm/d of which 40 mcm is exported daily to Iraq and Turkey.”