Iran helps power shortage with wind -- Licensed turbine manufacture

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If all goes to plan, Iran will more than double its installed wind power capacity from 46.72 MW to 130 MW by 2009. Turbines are going up at Paskolan and Harzevil-Siahpush-Rudbur near the city of Manjil, northwest of Teheran, and at Dizbad near Neishabur in the northeast. Both projects were developed by the Renewable Energy Organization of Iran, SUNA, under the Ministry of Energy.

SUNA also owns the Manjil installations, where 33.52 MW are already turning and a further 66.66 MW are under construction for completion late 2008. The Dizbad plant is owned by the national power generation, transfer and distribution company TAVANIR. Here, 13.2 MW has already been installed and the remaining 15.18 MW should be commissioned by the end of 2007.

The first turbines erected in Iran were a mix of 300 kW, 500 kW and 550 kW NEG Micon machines. Since then, they have been Vestas 660 kW units, following a $25 million contract with Vestas in 2001 to provide wind turbine components and technology transfer. Under this deal, Iranian construction company Sadid Industrial Group makes blades and towers for the V47 660 kW machine under licence.

Despite being one of the world's largest exporters of oil, Iran is looking more towards renewables to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and to help meet its increasing energy shortfall. Consumption is growing by nearly 10% a year thanks to rapid economic development, population growth, increased affluence and rural electrification programs. All this plus aged equipment and inadequate transmission and distribution networks means that power cuts are frequent, particularly in summer when demand in some regions can increase by over a third.

At present, around 13% of Iran's total power generation capacity of 40,000 MW comes from renewable resources, largely hydro. The country has good wind potential, however, particularly in the area south of the Caspian Sea. The energy ministry estimates Iran could generate up to 20,000 MW from wind. The ministry is currently compiling a wind map to identify potential sites. The government is keen to encourage private sector involvement -- both domestic and foreign -- in order to spread the investment costs.

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