Masood Hojjat, Co-chairman & Vice CEO, Tavanir, Iran

Last year, Iran’s Ministry of Energy inaugurated the 1000 MW Fars combined cycle power plant. It is one of a number of combined cycle power plants planned to reduce air pollution and combat the country’s power shortage.

The development of clean, efficient power generation is a key goal for Iran’s Ministry of Energy (MOE). Accordingly, it has given priority to the development of combined cycle power plants which will not only reduce air pollution but also optimize the use of the country’s abundant natural gas reserves.

One plant, converted to combined cycle last year is the Fars project in Fars Province. The plant is part of an aggressive strategy to significantly increase generation in the country.


Figure 1. The FARS combined cycle power plant during construction. The photograph shows the boiler and related parts
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Iran power sector

Most of Iran’s power generation sector is owned, operated and administrated by the MOE through its executive organisations that include Tavanir (Power and Transmission Management Organisation) and its subsidiary companies. The Tavanir subsidiary companies throughout Iran consists of 16 regional electricity companies, 30 generation management companies, 42 distribution companies, Electric Power Development Company (EPDC), Power Plant Management Company (MAPNA) and some other companies. In addition, more than 750 private companies active in electro-technical and related manufacturing and service industries are registered with Tavanir. There is a small percentage of generating capacity which is owned by industrial factories, various state administrations and the private sector.

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As of 2001, Iran had an installed capacity of over 31 GW. But with power demand predicted to grow at 6-8 per cent for the next 10 years, the government is building significant new generation capacity (both thermal and hydro). Around 3 GW was scheduled to come on line by March 2004.

The goal is to add 30 GW within 10 years. The longer term goal is to increase installed capacity to 96 000 MW by 2020. This represents an addition of more than 60 000 MW.

This capacity will require a projected investment of some $96 billion. Accordingly, the MOE has been looking at securing private sources of both domestic and international financing for independent power producer (IPP) projects. These will likely take the form of BOT (build, operate, transfer) schemes.

Fars project

Fars is a 1000 MW combined cycle power plant located in Fars Province, near Shiraz, south Iran. Iran Power Development Company (IPDC), a subsidiary of Tavanir, assigned the building of the project to MAPNA as the EPC contractor of the project.

Fars Province has a population of around 4.5 million, which represents 6.3 per cent of the population of Iran. Considering its positive economic and social indices, Fars Province has great potential for industrial and economic development.

Although the main consumption of electricity in Fars Province is for the agricultural industry, the area has experienced significant developments in various industrial sectors such as chemical, petrochemical and telecommunications. Major factories and companies include Dena (automobile tyre) Co., Fars Cement, Shiraz Chemical Factories, NIOC Refineries, Azmayesh Co., Abadeh Cement, and Shiraz Petrochemical Co.

With the continuing growth of these industries, the demand for electrical energy is expected to grow rapidly. Notably, however, being a populated area, new generating capacity must have low environmental impact. It was for this reason that the electricity utility opted for gas turbine plant as opposed to heavy fuel steam power plants.

Tavanir has a long history in the electricity industry. Its experience of combined cycle power plants, through IPDC, started with Gilan (three CCGT units) and Qom (two CCGT units). The experiences achieved from these two power plants, led IPDC to focus its strategy on building and extending CCGT plants in the country. IPDC thus signed a contract with MAPNA for converting (extension) six open cycle power plants to combined cycles comprising 14 CCGT units. These six power plants are: Montazer Ghaem (three CCGT units), Shahid Rajaii (three CCGT units), Khoy (one CCGT unit), Fars (three CCGT units), Neishaboor (three CCGT units) and Shariati (one CCGT unit); the capacity of each unit being between 95 MW and 110 MW. These projects were completed and synchronized with the grid in the middle of 2003.

Although Iran has surplus power generation with its existing power plants, there is a need to implement new power projects in the Fars region where power shortages can be experienced during the summer peak periods. Based on existing data, the maximum peak load is about 2360 MW during summer while the total installed capacity is around 1800 MW. However, during the peak season and due to the increasing power demand of large industries in the Province, the Fars regional electric company will buy about 530 MW electricity from neighbouring companies in 2004. When considering power demand, future development of generating capacity and projects under construction, a deficit of about 4000 MW is expected in 2008.

The project to extend the existing combined cycle power plant in Fars province, which started in 1992, adds over 1000 MW to the national power grid. The 1035.3 MW combined cycle power plant includes six GE Frame 9E gas turbine units, each with a generating capacity of 123.4 MW and three steam turbine units, each with an output of 98.3 MW.

The Fars CCGT plant is configured as a 2+2+1 arrangement combined cycle power plant, i.e. two gas turbines with two heat recovery steam generator (HRSGs) and one steam turbine with axially arranged condenser. Natural gas is the main source of fuel for the plant, with diesel used as a backup. The specification (IEPO standard) for NOx emissions from the plant is 350 ppm.

The project has cost Rials 636 billion plus US$335 million. The last phase of the gas turbine unit synchronized with the power network in March 1997 and the last phase of the steam unit in February 2002.

The main equipment of the power plant was supplied by companies from Germany, South Korea, Spain, China and Austria under the management of MAPNA-Iran as the main contractor. The consulting engineer for the project was Moshanir, Ghods Niroo. There are also a number of major Iranian companies as MAPNA’s subcontractors:

  • Steam turbine/generator supplier – Siemens, Germany and Pars Generator- Iran. Pars Generators is a large subsidiary of MAPNA corporation working on local manufacturing of generators.
  • Boiler supplier: Doosan-Korea & MASBA-Iran. MASBA is a large local manufacturer of boilers in Iran.
  • Cooling system supplier – various contractors including CMEC- China and Centigrade-Iran.
  • Transformers supplier – CMEC- China & Iran Transfo-Iran under license of KWU.

One of the most important aspects of the equipment procurement strategy was transfer of technical expertise in power plant components and equipment to local manufacturing industries.


Figure 2. A cooling tower at the Fars CCGT plant. The plant uses dry cooling towers of the Heller type
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Future

With Iran’s abundance of gas reserves and low environmental impact, CCGT generation is at the heart of future plans in the MOE. In addition to helping meet country’s consumption needs, the construction of combined cycle power plants will save around $30 million and 750 million m3 of gas per year. Implementing combined cycle power plant will enable the phase-in of new capacity, with the gas turbine running in open cycle while the bottoming cycle is installed.

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IPDC recently signed an EPC contract for erection of 22 CCGT units with MAPNA. The gas turbines to be used will be Siemens V94.2A model (except for Neka, Yazd and two units of Kazeroun). The total number of units in this new project are 22 units at eight power plants. Construction of these projects began at the beginning of 2004. These power plants are: Neka (one CCGT unit), Yazd (one CCGT unit), Kazeroun (three CCGT units), Kerman (four CCGT units), Damavand (six CCGT units), Sanandaj (two CCGT units), Shirvan (two CCGT units) and South-Isfahan (three CCGT units).

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Altogether, 41 combined cycle units will be installed in the country by the end of 2007.