0536 GMT August 22, 2019
Iran's global ranking in electricity generation jumped 24 spots from 38th to 14th in the past 40 years since the victory of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, said Iran's energy minister on Saturday.
Speaking at a press conference, Reza Ardakanian added at present, the country has electricity exchanges with all of its neighbors, IRNA reported.
He noted that in coming days, Iran will host Iraq's Electricity Minister Luay al-Khatteeb to finalize a three-year plan to improve the Arab country's power system.
"This cooperation will include construction and renovation of power plants in Iraq as well as reducing the number of power network casualties in the country."
He noted that Iran's installed electricity generation capacity, which stood at 7,000 megawatts 40 years ago, has now reached 80,000 megawatts, witnessing an 11.4-percent growth.
Ardakanian said over the past four decades, peak demand in Iran's electricity network also reached 57,090 megawatts from 3,480 megawatts in 1979 — up 16.4 percent.
Putting the country's rural population in 1979 at 19 million, he said at that time, only 4,367 Iranian villages had access to electricity.
"Iran's rural population currently stands at 21 million and electricity is supplied to 50,097 villages."
Renewable energy generation
He said in renewable energy generation sector, Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant has become operational with a generation capacity of 1,000 megawatts.
Increasing the electricity generation capacity of nuclear power plants is among the government's main policies, the minister added.
The number of Iran's renewable power plants has also gone up over the past four decades, he said, adding, "We plan to increase the country's electricity generation capacity using renewable energy resources to 5,000 megawatts by 2021."
Commenting on Iran's renewable electricity generation plans on Friday, Ardakanian voiced support for domestic and foreign investors interested in funding projects in renewable energy sector.
"We will support investors in projects to build solar and wind power plants," he noted.
The minister reiterated that his country has the required potentials for generating electricity using renewable energy resources.
Speaking on Saturday, he stressed that Iran seeks to become the region's energy hub, adding negotiations have been held with Russia to this end.
"We seek to synchronize Iran’s electricity system with that of Russia."
Top regional producer
Speaking on the sidelines of a ceremony to begin construction of a 546-megawatt combined cycle power plant in Sabzevar in the eastern Iranian province of Khorasan Razavi on Friday, Ardakanian said Iran has become the region's top producer of electricity.
He added this has been achieved thanks to the victory of the Islamic Revolution and those who sacrificed their lives to topple the former US-backed Pahlavi regime and defend the country during the Iraqi imposed war (1980-88).
He noted that Iranian experts' knowledge and the country's technological advances in the field of energy and electricity generation have gained international reputation.
The minister described electricity generation industry as one of Iran's important advantages, adding more important than that, is the country's efficient and skilled human resources and workforce.
Turning to his recent meeting with Syrian Prime Minister Imad Khamis, he said this country is among the most important fields of activity for Iranian power generation industry.
Ardakanian noted that Syria requires 800 megawatts of electricity per annum, adding Iran can build power plants in the Arab country.
He said in the past few days, Iran began the construction of a combined cycle power plant in the Syrian port city of Latakia.
Russia has expressed willingness to import gas turbines produced by Iran's MAPNA Group, a leading Iranian industrial group with a world class status in the global market, the minister said.