EghtesadOnline: The electricity loss in transmission and distribution networks in Iran is about 40 terabyte hours per year, which is equivalent to 43% of the annual electricity consumption in the household sector, the head of Energy Commission of Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture said.
“Data from the Energy Ministry show that 10-12% of the electricity produced in the country is lost during the transmission and distribution,” Mehr News Agency quoted Reza Padidar as saying.
Electricity is usually supplied from large power plants to consumers via extensive networks and rugged terrain, and transmission over long distances inevitably results in power loss.
Power loss, among other factors, is also due to old or defective equipment. Raising the efficiency of power plants is one of the measures that can help save energy.
“A large part of the country's electricity is generated in thermal power plants that have very low efficiency, between 20% and 32%,” Padidar said.
“If thermal power stations are converted into combined cycle plants, their efficiency can increase and reach 45%. Currently, only 36% of the country's electricity are generated from combined cycle power plants.”
Thermal power stations account for 80% of total power generation in Iran and enhancing their efficiency at regular intervals is crucial.
The government has said that it intends to phase out inefficient power plants, improve aging infrastructure and use modern power production technology.
Converting conventional plants into efficient combined-cycle units is one of the priorities of the government, as they both use gas and steam turbines to produce up to 50% more electricity from the same fuel than a traditional simple cycle plant. The waste heat from the gas turbine is sent to nearby steam turbines, which also generates electricity.
The Energy Ministry has attempted in the past years to boost the efficiency of power plants and stabilize the network.
Power specialists have strived to increase the efficiency of some power plants to 38% and the rate will improve further. Efforts are also being made to reduce the power loss to as low as 9%.
Replacing old and defective equipment, power lines, utility posts, cables and meters as well as penalizing illegal use (theft) are other measures taken by utilities to reduce losses.
Iran has an installed capacity of over 85,000 megawatts while the actual production is about 60,000 MW. The difference is due to power loss as well as the fact that power plants cannot usually operate at full capacity because of various reasons, one of which is lack of water in the dams, which affect the production of hydroelectric power stations.
Of the total installed capacity, thermal units, which either use steam, gas-powered or combined-cycle turbines, account for around 70,000 MW.
“Almost 12,000 MW of the installed capacity also come from hydropower plants. However, due to the decline in precipitation in the country, they are operating at half their capacity,” Padidar said.