An official with Iran’s Thermal Power Plants Holding Co. (TPPH) said the country’s first government-owned F-class power plant has entered operation, part of Iran’s continuing plan to add more natural gas-fired power generation.

The plant is located in Iran’s southern Hormozgan Province, which is across the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman from Oman and the United Arab Emirates. It’s part of a larger project led by Siemens and MAPNA Group, which is Iran’s largest power plant engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contractor.

“The first gas unit of Hengam power plant with a capacity of 307 megawatts (MW) has gone operational in Hormozgan province as Iran’s first F-class power plant,” Alireza Nasrollahi, the TPPH Executor of Combined-Cycle Power Plants Project, said in a statement Jan. 2 announcing the plant’s start-up. Nasrollahi said the project’s cost is estimated at about €500 million ($607 million). He said, “this power plant has two 307 MW F-class gas turbines and a 292 MW steam unit, with a total capacity of 906 MW and an efficiency of 58 percent.”

Nasrollahi said TPPH has a plan to build a series of similar power plants that would add more than 5 GW of generation capacity to Iran’s electricity supply. He said the plants would be sited in eight different areas of the country. The project includes F-class turbines from Siemens, with MAPNA Group serving as the EPC.

The Tehran Times said 478 thermal power plants are now operating across Iran, with more than two-thirds of those plants owned and operated by the country’s private sector, according to Tavanir, the country’s power generation, transmission and distribution management company. The group said the country’s total generation capacity is about 85 GW, with about 90% of that total supplied by gas-fired power plants.

A TPPH official in September 2020 said more than 1.3 GW of new generation capacity had been added in Iran between March and September of last year, with new units coming online at the Dalahoo, Ferdowsi, and Qeshm power plants. Data from the country’s energy ministry showed that from August 2013 to August 2019, 69 thermal power plants were built across Iran, with a total 8,991 MW of generation capacity.

Iran has increased its use of renewable energy in recent years, although renewables—including hydropower—account for only about 6% of the country’s total generation capacity.

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