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Official Name:
Islamic Republic of Iran

National Designated Entity

Type of organisation:
Mr. Siroos Vatankhah
Emails: ,

Energy profile

Iran (2012)

Energy profile
Energy profile
Extent of network

Nearly 100% of urban dwellings and 92% of rural dwellings have access to electricity, thanks to an intensive mass electrification plan in the 1980s. Excluding some 5000 villages in rural areas, more than 99% of Iranian homes have electricity.

Renewable energy potential

Wind energyAccording to a recent wind energy survey in 45 suitable Iranian sites, the wind energy potential is estimated to be 6500 MW. Presently, the capacity of installed wind farms in Iran is approaching 75 MW, mainly at two northern sites, Manjil and Roodbar wind farms, where the energy is fed to the local grid. These wind farms are planned to be enhanced up to 90 MW and installation of another 60MW wind farm is under consideration. A wind atlas is being developed as a step towards exploiting its wind-power resources. Iran is currently the only producer of wind turbines in the Middle East.Solar energyIran has high potential for using solar energy due to geographical position. The solar energy in the country varies from 2.8 kWh/m2 in day in the north to 5.4 kWh/m2 in day in the south. The average sunshine hours are estimated 2800 h per year nationally and 3200 h in the central part of Iran due to the hot and dry climate.Presently, besides thousands of small direct current individual photovoltaic units which are used in roads, highways, parks and communications, there are only a few photovoltaic electric power generating units with a total installed capacity of around 150 kW. There is also a 250 kW solar thermal power generating system installed in Shiraz. There are plans to develop a 17MW solar thermal power plant. By some estimates solar generating capacity could reach about 260 MW in 2030.Biomass energyProduction of a biomass atlas by the New Energies Organization is ongoing. The only common type of biomass energy in Iran is wood. The total amount of forest products used as energy generation was around 937,730 m3 in 2008. The country also plans to install three biomass power stations in Shiraz, Mashhad and Saveh with capacity of 1060 kW, 650 kW and 600 kW respectively.BiofuelsThere are approximately 3.67 million ton of oil seeds crops in Iran that could potentially produce 721 million litres of biodiesel every year and potentially replace about 2% of total diesel fuel consumption in Iran, but at present such oils are mainly used in  food production.. Canola, cotton and soybean are the most likely biodiesel sources. Hybrid oil (2% biodiesel and 98% diesel) could be an alternative fuel requiring no engine modification. Use of biodiesel and ethanol has been proposed for transportation. However, the present production capacity of ethanol in Iran is 0.7 million litres per day and it is only at the level of academic research.BiogasThere could be potential to produce 10 MW power from garbage/waste - mainly in  major towns/cities with population of above 250,000 in Iran. At present, a pilot prototype project is operative in Saveh, south west of Tehran.Hydropower There are 42 active hydro power stations with total capacity of about 7672 MW in Iran; and hydropower stations with a total capacity of 6650 MW are still being constructed. Iran has planned to increase capacity of hydropower to 30,000 MW in the near future. As there are numerous water streams from mountains that cover the country, thousands of small and Mini/Macro hydro systems could be installed to provide locally needed electricity or to be fed to local grids. Presently, there are only 12 small hydro power systems with a total installed capacity of 46.5 MW and 12 Mini/Macro hydro systems with a total capacity around 2.9 MW. The available hydro potential from Mini/Macro systems is not yet accurately estimated. New projects are expected to bring Iran’s hydropower capacity to 11 GW by 2030.Ocean energyThe Gulf of Oman is connected to the Indian Ocean and there is a maximum potential of 12.6kW/m power in its waves. But in the Persian Gulf’s coasts, due to their distance from the ocean, the wave power potential is at most 6.1 kW/m. However, in the PersianGulf islands, the potential is a maximum of19kW/m and average 16.6 kW/m. These isolated islands may be the best places to exploit wave energy.For tidal energy, owing to strong tides in the southern coastal region of Iran, there are many suitable sites. Among 36 sites which have been studied, Mahshahr port with 3.9m tidal range and 170km2 basin area is the best one.As far as thermal energy is concerned, although the Persian Gulf is one of the hottest seas in the Middle East and its surface temperature is about 30 ◦C in August, the required cold water to be obtained from the depths is not available. The Caspian Sea is suitable to harness sea thermal energy. In this sea, the temperature difference between surface and deep water is about 20 ◦C during 7–8 months of the year.Geothermal energyGeothermal potential site selection using Geographic Information System (GIS) carried out in 2007 indicated 8.8% of Iran as prospected geothermal areas in 18 fields. The main geothermal power station in Iran is located in Meshkin Shahr with capacity of 55 MW. 2 wells have been excavated in the Sabalan geothermal field, and results are promising.

Energy framework

Article 44 of the Iranian constitution prohibits ownership of hydrocarbon resources by foreign companies. However, “buy-back” contracts, introduced in the late 1990s, allow foreign companies, operating through an Iranian affiliate, to enter into exploration and development contracts with NIOC.Due to decreasing fossil fuel resources, the government has decided to control and reduce energy consumption especially by residential and commercial sectors. The usage of other types of energy, renewable energy in particular, has received great attention from the Iran government in recent years; and the government emphasizes large utilization of alternative energy resources in its each five yearly development plan.While Iran is trying hard to increase the contribution of renewable energy supply, it has also developed nuclear technology and will be using nuclear as an energy source in the near future.In the fourth five-year national development plan (2005-2009), Iran’s renewable energy policies were stated as follows:- Supporting private sector for dissemination of RE applications that are approaching economical viability, such as wind, geothermal and biomass energy.- Supporting manufacturers for transferring and localization of RE technologies which are expected to become competitive in medium terms, such as PV systems and solar thermal power plants.- Supporting the research centers to expand their research programs for RE technologies that are becoming competitive in longer than 10 years period.- Providing sustainable and accessible energy to the poor and isolated areas.In this context, the government purchases the electricity produced by the private sector from renewable energy power plants at a price three times higher than the amount paid by consumers.Following Iranian policy makers’ attention towards alternative energy resources to   fossil fuels, the Renewable Energy Organization of Iran (SUNA) with the help of World Bank is developing a strategic plan for Iran’s renewable energies. This project is supervised by the Renewable Energy Initiative Council of Iran (REIC).Iran aims to produce 10% of its required electricity from renewable sources by 2025.Fiscal incentives for renewable energy include investment/production tax credits and energy production payment.

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