A severe drought, which has reduced hydroelectricity production in Iran, may result in the introduction of a rationing plan, according to Iranian press reports yesterday. On the same day a spokesman for Tavanir, Iran’s state-run power generation and distribution company, claimed Iran was earning around $25 million a year by exporting electricity to neighbouring states.
“Due to the drop in the level of reservoirs behind dams, the electricity production has declined by eight per cent and the country may have to face electricity rationing later this month,” said the provincial general manager of the regional electricity department in northern Gilan. He said that a ten per cent reduction in overnight consumption was needed if the rationing was to be avoided.
The threat of electricity rationing comes in the wake of the national water rationing which has run for a period of six months as water levels have reached critical levels after three consecutive years of drought.
Meanwhile, figures released by Akbar Nematollahi, head of international department of Tavanir indicated that in addition to the $25 million earned in electricity exports, a further $25-30 million a year is earned through export of electricity equipment to the Asian and African countries.
The Islamic Republic of Iran has linked its power grid with Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan Republic, he said, adding that discussions are underway to link it with those of Pakistan and Iraq.
Mir-Fatah Qarabagh, managing director of Azerbaijan regional electricity organization said that Iran’s national grid is linked with those of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkey through five stations in three provinces of East Azerbaijan, West Azerbaijan, and Ardebil. Some 1.22 TWh energy was exported to the neighbouring states during the past year, ended March 20, while 3.2 GWh of energy was imported into the country during the period, said Qarabagh.
More than 90 per cent of Iran’s installed electric power generation capacity of 27 GW is in thermal power plants, mostly fired by natural gas. The government intends to expand both thermal and hydroelectric capacity and this week announced plans to build a new power plant on an Iranian Southern Island at a cost of rls 3.6 bn ($2.06 million), according to Valieddin Maslehati, advisor to the energy minister.
The Iranian government has said it intends to privatize the electricity generation industry in order to reduce energy waste and state subsidies.