Iran to see financial gains by transitioning to renewable electricity

Posted on 10th March 2017

If Iran were to transition to a fully renewable electricity system today, it would see financial gains as early as 2030.

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This is the finding of researchers from Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT), whose study shows that major oil-producing countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, including Iran, could commercialise their renewable energy resources within the space of just two decades.

According to the study, a fully renewable electricity system would be roughly 50% to 60% cheaper than other emission-free energy options for MENA countries. For example, new nuclear power costs approximately $116/MWh to produce, while the cost of fossil-CCS option is estimated at $127/MWh.

The cost of fully renewable energy electricity, meanwhile, should come in at around $42-63/MWh, based on financial and technical projections for the year 2030.

The study also notes that the cost of wind and solar electricity could fall as low as $39 to $58/MWh, if different energy resources were connected to a 'super grid' that allowed the transmission of high volumes of electricity across longer distances.

To fully transform its electricity system to renewables, Iran would reportedly require 49GW of solar photovoltaics, 77GW of wind power, and 21GW of hydropower.

The scientists also presented a renewable oil refining scenario in which fossil fuels are replaced with synthetically produced technology from carbon dioxide, water, and electricity. With the use of the said power-to-fuel technology, a 100% renewable system can still use carbon fuels and chemicals for aviation, materials, and medicine. Those sectors are said to be the most difficult to decarbonise because batteries are too heavy for powering airplanes, and carbon atoms are needed in plastics and chemicals like solvents and medicine, according to Constructionweekonline news report.

The results were published at the 11th International Energy Conference, held in Iran, and presented during COP22, in Morocco.

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