Iran eyes overseas power plant development

Iran eyes overseas power plant development
Iran hints at boosting global presence in energy markets in Africa. / CC: Pixabay
By bne Tehran bureau April 23, 2024

Iran plans to expand its power plant development projects overseas, including renewable energy generation, a senior energy ministry official has said, as reported by the semi-official news agency ILNA on April 22.

Mojtaba Akbari, who heads the Center for International and Diplomatic Coordination of the energy ministry, said Iran was carrying out several electricity generation projects in Iraq, Syria, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan and Sri Lanka. 

“We are now planning to undertake projects in African countries to either build or at least design power plants, or act as advisors to maintain existing power stations,” Akbari said.

He added that Iran had received many requests to maintain power plants due to soaring prices of electrical equipment and power station gear.

“Most of the requests are coming from Central Asia and the Persian Gulf countries. They're seeking Iranian companies’ expertise to overhaul their power plants,” the official said.  

Akbari noted that Iranian companies avoided direct investment in power station projects abroad and only acted as contractors with the funds provided by the host nation.

“Therefore, such projects do not cause any financial drain for Iran,” he pointed out.

The official pointed to renewable energy ventures embarked on by Iran including a mega hydropower dam in Sri Lanka. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi is set to visit Colombo on April 24 to officially bring it online.

The Uma Oya Hydropower Complex, a $529mn irrigation and hydroelectric facility, has been designed and developed by an Iranian private company in Sri Lanka’s southeastern Badulla District.

The dam has a generation capacity of 120 MW per day and is expected to produce 290 GWh of clean electricity annually and supply water to 8,000 hectares of agricultural land.

According to Akbari, Sri Lanka has also asked Iran to erect a 10-MW solar farm for the South Asian nation while Pakistan has sought Iranian cooperation for clean electricity generation from wind power.  

Iran, a country with huge fossil fuel reserves, seeks to diversify its own energy portfolio as it is blessed with vast deserts that get plenty of sunshine and strong winds throughout the year. 

 As per a comprehensive plan, the Energy Ministry aims to ramp up renewable electricity production to 20,000 MW daily by 2027 and 50,000 MW daily by 2031.

Clean energy sources currently account for only 1.2% of Iran's annual electricity generation.