Iran plans to build small-scale power plants in the north

Iran PowerIran’s Energy Ministry has launched plans to establish 40 small-scale power plants with distributed generation systems in the Northern provinces of Mazandaran and Golestan with the help of the private sector

“The facilities are slated to be built within six years across the two provinces to deploy a more resilient, cleaner and cost-effective source of energy,” Razmara Zakeri-Far, project manager at Mazandaran and Golestan Regional Electricity Company, was also quoted as saying by news agency IRNA.

“The new plants will inject more than 1,000MW to the northern region’s power grid to supply tens of thousands of homes with electricity," he added.

According to Zakeri-Far, three 25MW, one 8MW and three plants with a capacity lower than 5MW are currently active in the region.

Distributed generation refers to the electricity produced in small quantities near the point of use, as alternative or supplement to traditional centralised grid-connected power. It reduces the cost and complexity associated with transmission and distribution, while offsetting peak electricity demand and stabilizing the local grid. Most small-scale units in Iran are powered by diesel.

The government is trying to work in partnership with the private sector by giving out incentives to expand the capacity of electricity generation, Financial Tribune reported.

Officials say Iran needs to expand power generating capacity by 5,000MW annually, i.e., 20,000MW in four years, to meet rising demand at home and expand its footprint in the regional energy market.

Zakeri-Far noted that several incentives have been formulated to encourage domestic and foreign investments on such projects.

“The Energy Ministry guarantees the purchase of electricity generated by small-scale plants for five years,” he said.

They can sell their electricity under the supervision of the Ministry, he added, but did not elaborate.

“Since the easing of sanctions in 2016, investors from Canada, Germany, South Korea, China and Malaysia have signed deals worth US$150mn on building 10 power plants with a capacity of 25MW each in Mazandaran.

“Three plots of lands have been given to the Canadian companies to start construction. Equipment has been purchased and is being transferred to the sites,” he revealed.

As part of efforts to boost electricity generation through cleaner energy, small-scale power plants can help preserve the green provinces’ environment.

Zakeri-Far concluded that distributed generation systems can help curb power wastage since “studies reveal that major power plants waste up to 60 per cent of power”.

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