November 10, 2016

BREAKING THE OIL CURSE:

Why renewable energy is booming in Iran (Maysam Bizær, October 4, 2016, Al Monitor)

Iran, with a population of over 80 million, has the fourth-largest oil reserves and the second-largest natural gas reserves in the world. But despite its rich hydrocarbon resources, the country is pursuing projects to construct more nuclear reactors as part of efforts to increase its reliance on renewable energy sources as it has an advantageous topography for renewables.

Under such a policy, Iran has in the past years taken measures to increase power capacity via sources such as wind, solar and geothermal. Projects to produce 600 MW of electricity through wind and biomass and the construction of a 50-MW geothermal power plant in the northwest of the country are among these measures.

According to official figures, Iran's existing power generation capacity stands at 74,000 MW, of which nearly 200 MW is currently produced via renewable sources, mainly solar and wind. However, the renewable energy production capacity is predicted to reach 5,000 MW in the next five years, under Iran's sixth Five-Year Development Plan that envisions the construction of new power plants with a total capacity of 26,000 MW.

The sixth development plan also requires the government to focus on clean energy to protect the environment. Rik Teeuwen, the project manager of Solarplaza's Renewable Energy Trade Mission Iran, told Al-Monitor that for Iran, which is among the nearly 200 countries committed to the 2015 Paris climate deal that calls for cutting emissions, renewable energy is a major tool to reduce impact on the environment as it reduces the use of fossil fuels and saves water.

"If you can get wind energy and solar energy cheaper than old ways of generating, you save money and you can sell the fuels you don't need to other countries at a premium," Teeuwen, the manager of the Netherlands-based private firm, said.

Teeuwen also believes that renewable energy helps Iran attract foreign capital, which benefits both its local industry and employment. With Iran already attracting foreign investment in renewable energy, he believes that the country "definitely is well underway" to become a regional electric hub that will significantly export electricity in the years to come.


Posted by at November 10, 2016 4:36 AM

  

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