Iran's damned energy both in summer and winter
By Dalga Khatinoglu
Iran, with 62.22 GW actual capacity faced temporary power outages in several provinces in recent days.
The peak demand of power in Iran has risen by 10 percent to 46.9 GW since the beginning of summer. Power consumption in Iran, in contrast with gas usage, soars in summer, but the recent increase level is so much more than what Iran's Energy Ministry expected.
There are several reasons for having problems with the huge electricity generation level needed for a country with a population of 77 million.
First of all, because of the low price of power - 450 rials (1.5 cents) for one kilowatt hours electricity- due to heaven subsidies has created a burden on government.
While the price of one kilowatt hours of electricity for comparison in the United States was over 12 cents in April.
The Iranian government has increased the price twice since 2010 based on implementation of Subsidy Reform plan, but cheap power still motivates people to consume more energy.
The other factor is the huge power loss during the transmission and distribution process, which reaches around 40 billion Kwh, or more than 14 percent of total actual power generation capacity.
The third reason is the power plant's low efficiency. The efficiency of the country's thermal power plants which shares 83.7 percent of total power generation is only 37 percent on average. The thermal efficiency of gas power plants is 30.6%, steam power plants is 36.8% and combined cycle power plants is about 44.5%.
The country used 36 billion cubic meters of gas, as well as 28 billion liters of diesel and fuel oil for power generation during last fiscal year, ended on March 2014.
The liquid fuels consumption in power plants indicates a 25 percent increase compared to the previous year, because of the gas shortage in winter.
The statistics of Iran's Energy Ministry and National Iranian Gas Company show that during summer when the housing sector consumes less gas, the power plants are fueled by about 180 million cubic meters of gas per day. During cold season, this figure drops to about 40 to 70 million cubic meters.
The deputy of National Iranian Gas Company Mohammad-Reza Gharavi told Shana on June 30 that fueling power plants with gas broke a new record on that day and reached 205 million cubic meters. He said that it's scheduled to supply 42 billion cubic meters of gas to power plants during the current fiscal year.
Soaring gas consumption last winter led to cutting the blue fuel supplying the industrial sectors. In addition to cutting the gas supply to power plants, which led to burning $30 billion of liquid fuels, the Iranian government had to decrease gas delivery to petrochemical plants from 35 million to 15 million cubic meters. This caused a drop in the petrochemical production by 7.5 million tons during the last fiscal year.
Iranian Deputy Oil Minister for International and Commercial Affairs Mansour Moazzami said in April that during last year the petrochemical units produced only 40 million tons of products due to the winter gas shortage and led to an $8-billion loss.
On the other hand, Iran cut gas supply to CNG production plants from 17 to 19 million cubic meters of gas to zero during winter, which caused gasoline consumption to soar to about 70 million liters per day in average during last fiscal year.
Dalga Khatinoglu is specialist on Iran's energy sector and Iran News Service head in Trend Agency