Iran is ready to integrate with the SCO in the field of electric power« Back
Iran, with its favorable geostrategic position, access to the Caspian sea, the Persian Gulf and the Indian ocean, has a developed electric power industry, huge energy reserves and human potential. It can play a much more significant role in the development of cooperation with the SCO countries, in particular, in projects related to the transmission, exchange of electricity and synchronization of energy systems. This was emphasized by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during his speech at the 20th meeting of the Council of heads of state of the Shanghai cooperation organization (SCO), in which Iran has observer status. The meeting was held on November 10 under the chairmanship of Russian President Vladimir Putin and was held via videoconference.
So, in his speech, the head of the Iranian Cabinet stressed: "The expansion of power transmission lines and the development of communications are mechanisms that are of great importance for cooperation in the region. As one of the most important energy channels, a regional trunk route, rich in energy resources and access to two important waterways, Iran, due to its geopolitical position, can meet the needs of most countries in the region, including the SCO member States."
In fact, the speech of Hassan Rouhani reflected the program of the Iranian Ministry of energy, which aims to make the Islamic Republic an energy hub in the region of Central and Western Asia.
Tehran's interest in expanding cooperation in the export and mutual exchange of electricity is obvious. The Islamic Republic benefits from projects that can reduce its dependence on oil exports. Reducing the part of the budget that is filled with oil revenues is a fundamental task of the Iranian economy. Iran is being pushed to do this by both tough us sanctions on Iranian oil exports and the desire to protect itself from sharp fluctuations in world energy prices.
The electric power industry is one of the most dynamically developing industries in the Islamic Republic. The country is currently the leading electricity producer in the middle East. The total capacity of all Iranian power plants in the past Iranian year, which ended on March 20, 2020, was more than 82 thousand megawatts. In the 40 years since the Islamic revolution (1979-2019), the length of electricity networks in Iran has increased more than 11 times and amounted to 923 thousand kilometers. According to the Iranian Ministry of energy, about 90% of the equipment for generating electricity, including turbine units and generators, is produced domestically.
Enterprises built by Soviet and Russian specialists play an important role in the development of the Iranian electric power industry. For example, the first unit of the well-known Bushehr nuclear power plant was connected to the national grid in 2013. and now it produces 1000 megawatts per hour. Rosatom is currently constructing the second and third units of the NPP. The Bushehr nuclear power plant was the first nuclear power plant not only in Iran, but also in the entire middle East.
Soviet and then Russian specialists built the Ramin thermal power plant in Ahvaz with a capacity of 1,800 megawatts. In the near future, construction of the Sirik thermal power plant in the province of Hormozgan with a capacity of 1,400 megawatts will begin, which will be built at the expense of a Russian loan in the amount of 1,4 billion euros.
In recent years, Iran aims to increase the share of power plants based on renewable sources of energy. So far, according to data for 2019, renewable energy sources, including hydropower, account for about 6% of electricity produced. 90% are produced by natural gas-fired power plants.
Iran is not only self-sufficient in the field of electricity production, but also exports it. In addition, it carries out energy exchange with all countries with which it has a land border.
According to the Ministry of energy of Iran, in the last Iranian year (March 2019 - March 2020), Iran's power plants produced 328 million megawatt hours. Just over eight million were exported to seven neighboring countries, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Armenia and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan. The import of electricity in the amount of 1,329 billion. kvtch, almost entirely came from Armenia and the Nakhichevan Autonomous region.
Iranian Ministry of energy today is extremely interested in expanding exports, but also to synchronize its power grid with neighbouring countries to the exchange of power was the most optimal, depending on seasonal fluctuations of consumption, and to ensure greater security of the transmission system.
Much has already been done in this area. Iran's electricity networks are synchronized with those of Iraq. It is expected that in the near future, the Iranian networks may be synchronized with the electric networks of Russia and Azerbaijan. The Iranian Ministry of energy is in talks with Afghanistan on the same topic.
In the current situation, export-import and exchange operations are carried out on the basis of bilateral agreements. At the same time, multilateral projects within the framework of the Shanghai cooperation organization could make electricity consumption and exchange more optimal and contribute to the creation of a unified energy system of the SCO. This, in turn, would contribute to the integration processes within the organization and the energy security of the SCO member States and partners.