Iran energy ministry’s debt hits $6 billion
Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan. 29
By Rahim Zamanov - Trend:
Iran's energy ministry owes 180 trillion rials, some $6 billion based on the rate of the USD on the free market, to banks, the private sector and contractors, the Managing Director of Iran Power Generation Transmission & Distribution Management Company (TAVANIR) Homayoun Haeri said on January 29, Iran's IRNA News Agency reported.
"Some private companies also owe money to the ministry," Haeri explained.
"For example, the Almahdi Company's debt to the ministry is around three trillion rials ($100 million)," he said, adding that the company exports its products at international prices to neighbouring countries, but still refuses to pay its electricity bills.
He went on to note that Iran needs some five to six billion dollars of investment and five billion litres of fuel in order to produce 5000 megawatt hours of electricity.
"The aforementioned amount of electricity would be generated at a total cost of $52 billion," he added, noting that by optimising consumption, one third of the cost would be eliminated.
Head of Iran Electrical Industry Syndicate, Mohammad Parsa, said on January 21 that the government currently owes 220 trillion rials, $7.3 billion based on the rate of the USD on the free market to the electricity industry's contractors, , the Iranian SHANA News Agency reported.
"If the government doesn't pay its debt to the contractors, Iran will face electricity shortages next summer," he added.
Haeri said in November that Iran's total solar power plant production capacity currently stands at 70,000 megawatt hours.
"Iran is now the world's 14th biggest owner of solar power plants," the IRNA News Agency quoted Haeri as saying.
"The country's total potential for producing solar and wind energy is estimated to be around 40 million and 100,000 megawatt hours," he said.
Ahmad Kaviani, owner of an Iranian company active in the field of renewable energies, said in July that Iran needs to invest more into renewable energy, especially wind turbines.
"The energy minister said that a number of renewable power plants with the capacity to produce 500 megawatt hours of electricity will be connected to the country's national grid by next year," Kaviani said, adding that achieving the goal needs hard work.
"Over the past 13 years, only some renewable power plants with the capacity to produce only 95 megawatt hours of electricity have come on stream," he added.
"The government needs to increase the price of electricity in order to make the industry profitable for the private sector," he concluded.
"The power generation capacity in Iran has grown by seven percent annually during the past 10 years," he said adding that the figure has averaged 3.5 percent across the world.
The country's power generation capacity is currently over 70 gigawatts.
Iran currently trades power with Turkey, Armenia, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq.
Iran seeks to become a major regional exporter of electricity and has attracted more than $1.1 billion in investments for the construction of three new power plants.
Edited by S.M.