Surprise order from top oil exporter -- Iran looks to reduce pollution

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A Middle Eastern construction concern plans to build an 81 MW wind farm in the Manjil region of Iran south of the Caspian Sea and northwest of Tehran -- one of the world's top ten most polluted cities. The project is being developed by the Sadid Industrial Group of Tehran for Iran's Centre for Renewable Energy Research Application (CRERA), based at the state laboratory.

Sadid has ordered 123, 660 kW wind turbines from Vestas of Denmark along with a technology transfer agreement to produce blades, towers and other components locally. It is the second wind farm in Iran -- one of the world's largest oil exporters -- which currently has just 11 MW of wind power on-line.

The Vestas project is the major part of a contract to supply 90 MW of wind power to CRERA, reports Tom Pedersen of Vestas' 100% owned subsidiary developer, Vestas Danish Wind Technology A/S. The finished project will nearly complete CRERA's goal to install 100 MW of wind power. The first 10 MW is from a project started in the same region in 1996 with 300 kW and 550 kW units from Danish Nordtank (Windpower Monthly, September 1996). Blades, towers and components were made locally by CRERA, and by last year, all these turbines were erected, says Pedersen.

From that experience, however, CRERA decided to get out of turbine manufacturing and leave it to the industry instead, issuing a tender in 1999. The contract went to Sadid, which builds power plants, pipelines and large infrastructure projects in the Middle East. After long negotiations, Vestas was chosen to supply the turbines.

"It took everyone by surprise that it materialised," says Pedersen. Vestas and Sadid have agreed to pursue a joint venture to develop more wind power in Iran if this project is successful, he adds. At least a good resource is available: the mountain passes and stretches of ridgeline in the Manjil region boast average winds of 10 m/s, he says. "Wind is being taken very seriously by the Iranian government. They see this as a way to reduce pollution," Pedersen notes.

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