WindEurope CEO in Iran for EU-Iran dialogue on renewables

Last week, WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson accompanied Dominique Ristori, Director General in DG Energy in the European Commission, to Iran for an EU-Iran dialogue on renewables.

Dickson and Ristori held discussions with 15 Iranian government officials along with representatives from the EU SMEs Agency, SolarPower Europe, Shell, IRENA, Total and Iberdrola. The Iranian delegation was led by Sayed Mohammed Sadeghzadeh, Deputy Minister and Head of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Organisation within the Iranian Energy Ministry.

The discussion was both open and productive, echoing recent statements by the Iranian Government confirming that the Iranian government backs an ever greater push for more renewables in the country’s energy mix.

In terms of wind energy, Iran currently has 188 MW installed wind capacity, over half of which is in a government-run project. The country is keen to develop its wind turbine manufacturing capability.

Sadeghzadeh made it clear that Iran wants over 5 GW more renewables over the next 5 years, and expressed an interest in learning more about the optimum split between storage and demand response. Dickson noted the recent leaps made in all areas of wind power including storage. He explained that European wind farm operators are now installing 1-2 MW battery units alongside their turbines, and 20-30 MW battery units alongside the grid. Dickson outlined the important role played by these battery units in balancing power, frequency control and other ancillary services.

Conversations on costs sparked a great deal of interest in the Iranian delegation, with Dickson highlighting this week’s recent reduction of onshore auction prices in Germany to just €38/MWh in order to illustrate the massive cost reductions for onshore wind in Europe. He then outlined how higher costs of capital impact on capital expenditure and total project costs. Dickson made it clear that capital costs for Iranian projects would partly depend on the level of guarantees on offer for finance, emphasising the need for policy to support industry.

Both sides were pleased with the discussion and immediately drew up plans to continue the EU-Iran dialogue on renewables. Ristori invited Sadeghzadeh to visit Brussels in March next year and there will be a visit to the Red Eléctrica de España control centre in Madrid, with B2B dialogues already in the pipeline for late 2018 in Iran.