Renewables turning into a steady movement in Iran

TEHRAN, Feb. 02 (MNA) – Renewables are steadily gaining traction in Iran. The quest for a cleaner, greener and more self-sustaining future is now turning out to be quite a movement, though needing a harder push.

Almost ten years have passed since the shift from fossil fuels to clean energies started in the country, while renewables have so far reached the meager amount of 682 megawatts in the country. However, a closer look at the matter shows that the process has paced in the past two years through a considerable number of large- and small-scale projects across Iran.

According to Seyed Mohammad Sadeghzadeh, head of the state-owned Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Organization (SATBA), the country’s renewable capacity stood 250 MW two years ago, but doubled last year and is expected to reach 1,000 MW by the yearend (March 20).

Based on a bill ratified in 2017, the government is seeking to increase the renewable capacity, including solar and wind, to 5,000 MW by 2022.

The target looks feasible since a large number of farms have become operational in the past months to harness electricity from green sources.

Close to 98 large and small renewable power plants with capacities ranging from 2 to 12 MW are now operational in Iran and 45 other plants with a total capacity of 445 MW are currently under construction.

With more than 300 sunny days in a year, Iran has huge potentials to harness renewable energies, including geothermal, solar and wind power.

Figures on the country’s power sector show that 42% of the country's renewable energies come from solar power, 41% from wind farms, 13% small from hydroelectric plants, 2% from heat recovery and 2% is constituted by biomass.
 

Incentives by government

In a push for expediting the process, the government has devised multiple initiatives to foster a welcoming environment for renewable-related investments.

The Energy Ministry in 2016 announced it would guarantee the purchase of the power plants’ output for 20 years at reasonable costs to reduce investment risks for private solar power plants and foreign investors.

There are also no limitations in installing solar panels in organizations and residential buildings.

Reportedly, SATBA issues three to four permits daily for building renewable power plants.

Another declared goal of the government is to develop renewable energy in the deprived and remote areas. The Energy Ministry and private companies are building 50 big and 2,000 small solar power plants in regions across the country.

Such incentives will help create jobs in such areas, where people are forced to migrate due to the water crisis and worsening economic conditions.

Some 46,000 people are currently working in the renewable sector, mostly owned by private investors. The figure shows a 70% growth in comparison with the last fiscal year (ended March 20, 2018).

A newly introduced bill has also emphasized the plan to allocate 10% of the country's total oil revenues to developing the use of solar energy in the villages, Hedayatollah Khademi, a member of the Energy Commission of the Parliament recently said.

According to him, the electricity will be produced for the rural population in low kilowatt-hour mode in order to benefit the villagers.

Environmental impacts

Promising reports on the environmental and economic impacts of renewable energies in the country in the past nine years have made it imperative to grease the wheels of the sector and increase the share cleaner energies injected into the national grid.

Latest data released by the Energy Ministry show that Iran has produced over 2.75 billion kilowatt hours of electricity from renewable sources from July 2009 to January 2019.

The generated power has also helped reduce greenhouse emissions by as much as 2 million tons.

This amount of alternative energy production has reduced 781 million cubic meters of fossil fuel which is considered as the main source of air pollution.

The volume has also saved 605 million liters of water consumption in recent years, with the share of December alone being about 14 million liters.

Iran has pledged to slow climate change by promoting cleaner energies. In December 2015, 195 nations, including Iran, signed an agreement at the Paris Climate Conference to move away from fossil fuels with a goal of limiting a rise in average global temperatures to well below 2 degrees Celsius.

The country promised to curtail greenhouse gas emissions by increasing power production from renewable sources to 7,500 MW by the end of next decade.

However, the stabilization of the emissions requires serious efforts by the government.  The country has to strive for higher levels of energy efficiency, including the deployment of best-in-class technologies.

According to Iran Meteorological Organization, greenhouse gas emissions in Iran increased by 3% in the past decade and average temperature has risen by 1.8 degrees Celsius since 1750 – much higher than the global 1.1°C average.

News Code 142110

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