EghtesadOnline: Close to 463 million kilowatt hours of electricity were generated from alternative energy sources in the first three months of the fiscal 2021-22, which help curb both water and fossil fuel consumption.
This volume of clean energy was produced from March 21 to July 1 and helped reduce the emission of 3,000 tons of greenhouse gases, 2,000 tons of air pollutants like carbon monoxide and save 110 million liters of water and 132 million cubic meters of fossil fuel, the Energy Ministry’s news service reported.
Water shortage and its negative impact on hydroelectric and thermal power generation have made the role of renewables, which produce 70% of their annual output in the summer without using water, more crucial in deciding energy policy and promoting environmentally-friendly industries.
Currently, 85 plants generate renewable energy in Iran, 50% of which are solar and the rest are powered by wind, water and biomass.
“The current local production capacity of renewables stands at 980 megawatts,” Mohammad Satkin, the head of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Organization (Satba), said and hoped that by the yearend nearly 500 megawatts would be added to the national grid for boosting renewable capacity to over 1,500 MW.
Iran has enormous potential for the production of a variety of renewable energies, including geothermal, solar and wind power, environmentalists and experts say.
“Fifty-five million dollars were allocated for Satba in 2020 and will be doubled to $102 million in 2021.”
Satkin said the increase in funding will help boost renewable energy and curb the use of fossil fuels.
“Environmental pollution caused by the use of fossil fuel for electricity production is a warning that if we do not rewrite renewable energy development plans soon, we will face bigger challenges,” he said.
Generating electricity from renewable sources, including solar and wind, is more eco-friendly than consuming fossil fuels.
More than 80% of the power plants in Iran burn natural gas to generate electricity. In the cold seasons when household gas use increases, power stations get less gas and are forced to burn liquid fuels such as diesel and mazut, which are among heavy polluters.
Regarding the role of private companies in the expansion of renewables, the official said, “Private firms have invested in 100 projects in the sector without government or state assistance. The government’s role is only to guarantee the purchase of generated electricity at a good price.”
Private companies have so far invested over $1 billion in the green sector. Due to government funding constraints and financial pressures, private firms are playing a bigger role in the expansion of renewable energy.
According to the Energy Ministry’s data, wind and solar power plants account for 43% and 39% of the country's renewable production capacity respectively.
Small hydroelectric plants, waste-to-energy complexes and biomass factories constitute 15%, 2% and 1% of the total renewable capacity respectively.