Researchers at the Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) found that if Iran's energy system ran with 100% renewables, it would be 50%-60% cheaper than nuclear or fossil-fuel-carbon-capture-storage options.
"New nuclear power costs around €110/MWh. The fossil-CCS option costs around €120/MWh. But the cost of the fully renewable energy electricity is around €60–40/MWh, based on financial and technical assumptions of the year 2030," according to the university.
The cost of wind and solar could be reduced further if the transmission network was expanded and improved across the Middle East and North African region.
The university said to achieve 100% renewables, Iran would need to install 77GW of wind power, 49GW of solar and 21GW of hydro. The country currently has 129MW of installed wind power.
"The picture that emerges from that study is that the fossil-fuel industry can transform its business to meet the COP21 target of a net zero emission energy system. This requires fundamental change in how we think carbon, but it could potentially open major new business opportunities," said LUT's Professor Christian Breyer.
Part of the research included plans to produce synthetic oil using carbon dioxide, water and electricity for use in the aviation, materials and medicine industry which rely on carbon fuels and chemicals.
The university published the research at the 11th International Energy Conference held in Tehran, Iran, and presented during COP22 in Marrakech to official representatives of the MENA region.
"The study was done as part of the Neo-Carbon Energy research, in cooperation with LUT, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and University of Turku, Finland Futures Research Centre.