Wind Wire: Opportunity knocks

Around 300 delegates gathered in Tehran in May for a one-day conference on Investment Opportunities in Wind Energy in Iran.

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Delegates from China, Germany, India, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Turkey and Holland, among others, heard speakers from government and local industry players outline the potential of a country with a resource estimated at around 10 GW, of which only 65 MW is operating to date. The government's main message was how keen Iran is to assist potential investors: the recent 100% increase in the guaranteed purchase price paid for green electricity was a prime example (Windpower Monthly, April 2009). Government speakers stressed that they have simplified the application process and removed all administrative bottlenecks. The main obstacle to getting more wind power built remains access to affordable finance. The cost of borrowing is kept particularly high by the trade embargo imposed by the US in 1995. There was also much talk at the conference about local production of wind turbines, reports Amir Sadaghiani of conference organiser Arg Business & Investment Consultants (ABIC). Because of the political perspective, Iran feels the need to be self-sufficient, Sadaghiani says, adding that "well-known manufacturers" have expressed an interest in joining forces with local companies. There are some big projects waiting in the wings to tempt them. ABIC is developing 300 MW with the aim of selling shares to a broad range of local investors at the construction stage. Interest from private companies and institutional investors is high, says Sadaghiani. In addition to 65 MW of installed wind capacity, Iran has power purchase contracts signed for a further 420 MW and preliminary permits for 650 MW.

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