Renewable Energy in Iran

Renewable Energy Organization of Iran (SUNA) says it plans to increase private sector investment in renewable energy. During the Fifth Five-Year Economic Development Plan (2010-15), the organization aims to support private investment to construct power plants using renewable energy to generate five thousand megawatts of electricity, Yousef Armodeli said.

Armodeli said SUNA has already inked contracts with private entities to construct power plants to generate one thousand megawatts of energy using wind power, biomass, and solar energy sources, IRNA reported.

The private sector has submitted a proposal for generating another 3,000 megawatts, he added. He elaborated that the organization is also conducting feasibility studies on geothermal energy, tidal energy and biomass energy resources.

Earlier, Hamid Chitchian, an Energy Ministry official, said the country has the potential to generate 15,000 megawatts of wind energy. Iran’s wind energy industry can compete internationally once wind turbines of 500 megawatts are installed annually, he noted.

The official added that the ministry plans to set up wind farm turbines with a capacity to generate 1,650 megawatts of energy by March 2014. The Islamic Republic of Iran has made great strides in generating energy from renewable sources, mainly wind power.

Wind Farm Plants

Four wind farms, namely Manjil, Binaloud, Zabol’s Loutak and Tabriz’s Aun Ibn Ali, have been launched by SUNA. The plants generate a total of 90 megawatts of electricity. Manjil wind farm in Gilan province is considered the country’s biggest wind power plant. Its wind turbines were installed in 1994. Currently it has the capacity to generate 61.18 megawatts of electricity.

Majil wind farm has so far generated over 890 million kilowatts of electricity. It produced 176 million kilowatts of electricity in the year to March 2010. Binaloud wind farm is located between Mashhad and Neishabour cities in Khorasan Razavi province. The plant includes 43 660-kilowatt wind turbines which generate 28.38 megawatts of electricity in total. Binaloud wind farm produced over 53 million kilowatts of electricity in the year to March 2010.

Iran is considered as one of the windiest countries in the region. The country is a member of the Global Wind Energy Council. Studies by domestic consulting firms show that the country has the capacity to generate over 40,000 megawatts of electricity through establishing more wind farms. With private investment and state support, the country can make better use of wind energy.

Solar Power Plants

Meanwhile, managing director of Sunir Company said Iran has the potential to generate 120,000 MW of solar energy. Mohammad Parsa said given that fossil fuel resources are fast depleting, there is increasing enthusiasm in the world for alternative and inexhaustible sources of energies including wind and sun.

Iran’s solar radiation is 2.5 times the amount for European nations, he compared. With about 300 days of sunshine per year and an average of 2,200 kilowatt-hour solar radiation per square meter, Iran has a great potential to tap solar energy.

Given the scant rainfall in Iran for eight to nine months of the year, the country can meet a large portion of its energy needs from the sun.

Iran’s position is also very favorable terms of duration of sunshine. It seems that solar power plants can be constructed in most desert areas which make up a major portion of its territory. Of course, in recent years Energy Ministry has taken some positive steps to build solar power plants.

In 2009, the country inaugurated its first concentrated solar thermal power plant in Shiraz with a capacity to generate 250 kilowatts of energy.

A large Concentrating Solar Power plant was also built in Yazd and its second concentrated solar energy became operation in the summer of 2009. Yazd concentrated solar power plant, which is a combined cycle type, is the largest solar thermal power plant in the Middle East and the eighth largest in the world.