By Dalga Khatinoglu - Trend:
The latest stats released by Iran's Energy Ministry indicate a huge change in power plants' fuel feeds, while the output level increased significantly during last four months.
According to the ministry's weekly report, Iran's electricity output reached about 104 billion kWh in first four months and two days (126 days) of current fiscal year, while this figure was 101.5 billion kWh in the same period of last year (March 21 to July 24).
On the other hand, during this period, the country's power production capacity increased by 373 MW (two 160-MW hydropower plants + 53-MW gas power plant).
Iran planned to increase the current 73,525 MW power production capacity to 75,284 MW by the end of fiscal year (March 20, 2016).
Despite these figures, the country's actual power production capacity stands at 57,759 MW.
Iran's electricity export fell by 17 percent to 3.336 billion kWh, while imports rose by 17 percent to 1.503 billion kWh in last four months.
The country increased gas deliveries to power plants by 16 percent to 23.129 billion cubic meters in 126 days, while the gas-oil and fuel oil supplements decreased by 66.9 percent to 718 million liters and 36.6 percent to 1.777 billion liters respectively.
Iran produced 276.178 billion kWh of electricity last fiscal year, while the export-import volumes reached 9.956 billion kWh (-14%) and 3.769 billion kWh (+2%).
Iran consumed 218.933 billion kWh during last year, and taking into account the produced and net export volumes, the country's electricity waste during the transit and distribution process was very high standing at above 50 billion kWh, or 18 percent.
The country increased power production capacity by 2.871 GW last year, of which 2.242 GW was produced by thermal power plants. These power plants share 82 percent of Iran's total power generation capacity.
The statistics indicate that the new installed thermal power plants accounted for about 80 percent of total power generation growth last year. Therefore, it seems the country would boost this kind of power plants in future and needs more gas delivery to this sector.
On the other hand, according to official stats, some 222 million metric tons of pollutants were emitted as a result of using fossil fuel in power generation in 2013. This means that about 37 percent of CO2 emission in Iran was caused by power plants in the mentioned year.
Air pollution costs $16 billion for Iranians annually, according to the World Health Organization.
Iran should optimize the efficiency of thermal power plants, which stands at 37 percent on average. The country needs about $700 million to $850 million to increase power plants' efficiency by one percent, according to Iranian officials.
Dalga Khatinoglu is an expert on Iran's energy sector, head of Trend Agency's Iran news service. Follow him on @dalgakhatinoglu