Iran Brings More Natural Gas-Fired Units Online

Two more units at a natural gas-fired combined cycle power plant in Iran are producing electricity for the country’s national grid. The Mahtab Kavir plant in Zarand County in Kerman Province now has total power generation capacity of 484 MW after the two new 162-MW units were synchronized with the grid on Feb. 9.

The plant is supporting the electricity supply for three provinces—Kerman, Hormozgan, and Sistan-Baluchestan—in the country’s south and southeastern regions.

Iran’s Energy Ministry in a news release quoted Abdolrasoul Pishahang, director of planning for the country’s Thermal Power Plants Holding Company (TPPHC), as saying, “The units, which added 324 megawatts of electricity to the grid, run on advanced F-Class turbines with an efficiency rate of 59%.”

The first unit of the Mahtab Kavir plant was connected to the grid in June 2022, just ahead of the country’s peak summer period for power demand.

Mahmoud Sadeqi, TPPHC’s executive director for private power plant projects, at that time said, “The commissioning of this power plant is very important for supplying electricity to the southeastern and southern provinces of Kerman, Hormozgan, and Sistan-Baluchestan, and it will play an important role in compensating the electricity shortage in these areas.”

Climate Impacts

Iran’s Energy Ministry has said climate change is impacting the country’s electricity supply, as higher temperatures, and a large decrease in rainfall, are affecting the country’s ability to have power supply keep up with demand. The ministry has been implementing new programs, including adding units to existing power plants, and building plants specifically to supply industrial users, to meet the country’s electricity demand during peak periods and to prevent outages.

Energy Minister Ali-Akbar Mehrabian last spring said Iran would add at least 1,130 MW of new generation capacity in the next year, including the units at Mahtab Kavir.

Iran has about 86 GW of power generation capacity, most of it—about 71% according to government data—supplied by gas-fired generation. Just more than one-quarter of the country’s power comes from burning oil. Those shares were about equal in 2000. The majority of Iran’s new generation capacity over the past two decades has come with construction of new gas-fired power plants, most of them combined cycle facilities.

Darrell Proctor is a senior associate editor for POWER (@POWERmagazine).

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