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EghtesadOnline: As peak summer demand peters out, electricity exports to Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan, which were halted to help stabilize power supply in summer, has resumed, a deputy energy minister said.

“Selling electricity to neighboring states, which had fallen to zero, has now reached 1,000 megawatts and will rise further,” Homayoun Haeri was also quoted as saying by Barq News.

“The state-run Iran Power Generation, Distribution and Transmission Company [Tavanir], which had to purchase close to 700 MW of power from Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Armenia daily over the last two months, has reduced imports to less than 200 MW. The company has also started to export electricity again as the cool temperature has substantially reduced demand,” he said.

“Less than 300 MW of power were imported to Iran per day last summer when network load reached 58 gigawatts. Things have changed and the widening gap between production [58,000 MW] and demand [68,000 MW] put transmission substations and distribution networks under huge pressure, due to which explosions were reported in some substations.”

Giving a break down on power consumption, the deputy energy minister noted that industries, households, agro sector and commercial units comprise 38%, 32%, 18% and 7% of the total electricity use in Iran respectively. Public places like parks, walkways and bus stations account for the rest.

According to the official, although the country's installed capacity (58 GW) has increased in proportion to the annual economic growth, it is still not sufficient to meet the heavy domestic demand.

Haeri noted that due to the unprecedented low precipitation, last winter’s output from 60 hydroelectric power plants in Iran has declined by at least 130% compared to a year ago.

The production level, which was around 10,000 MW last year, has declined to 1,000 MW.

The shortfall means added pressure on thermal power stations and/or frequent outages. Hydroelectric plants have an annual output of 12,000 GWh when dams are full, but they produce less because dams are usually half empty.

Production from hydroelectric units is designed according to projected water conditions. The rise or fall in output depends directly on water levels in dams.

“In order to avoid reliance on hydroelectric power stations at critical times [summer], power plants with a generation capacity of 10,000 MW should be constructed, for which more than $9 billion should be invested,” he said.

Average power production in Iran is about 300 billion kilowatt hours, of which around 10 billion kWh are exported, which can be increased further if domestic subscribers consume prudently.



Arian Power Plant

According to Mohsen Tarztalab, managing director of Iran's Thermal Power Plants Holding Company, the gas-powered units of Arian Combined-Cycle Power Plant in Zanjan Province will be synchronized with the national grid in January 2022.

“The two units are supposed to add 360 MW to the grid and are equipped with E-class turbines whose efficiency are about 55%,” he said.

Costing $350 million, the initiative is being implemented by domestic experts in Iran Investment Company.

The steam unit of the station will become operational in 2023, he added.

Besides increasing the power generation capacity, the construction of steam units will help increase the efficiency of the power plant and also lead to a significant saving in gas consumption.

A combined-cycle power plant uses both gas and steam turbines to produce up to 50% more electricity from the same fuel than a conventional cycle plant. The waste heat from gas turbine is sent to a nearby steam turbine that also generates electricity.

Tarztalab noted that power deficit in the region has approached 300 MW and when the plant goes on stream, electricity supply to the province will become more stable.

The environmental permit for the construction of two steam units at the Soltaniyeh Power Plant in Zanjan with an aggregate capacity of 320 megawatts has been issued by the Department of Environment to convert the thermal power station into a combined-cycle one.

MAPNA Group will undertake the construction of two steam units, each with a nominal capacity of 160 MW.

The power plant is located 25 kilometers from Zanjan in northwestern Iran. It currently has four gas units, each with a capacity of 162 MW.


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