Water resources

The Department of Water Affairs and Department of Urban Water and Wastewater Affairs, both of which are under the Ministry of Energy, are responsible for water resources. The former department is responsible for the regional water authorities and governs the state water and wastewater companies. The total water resources potential is 130 km3. The mean annual precipitation of the country is about 250 mm. Rainfall in 2018-19, totalled 313 mm compared with 120 mm in 2017-18. Approximately 99.6 per cent of the urban population has access to a drinking water supply and 82 per cent of the rural population.

There are 523 large dams in operation. The total water storage of all dams is 51.7 × 109 m3.

In 2017, seven new large dams were completed. These were: the 155 m-high Rudbar e Lorestan rockfill dam, the 102 m-high Givi multipurpose rockfill dam, the 79 m-high Silveh earthfill dam, the 65 m-high Zemkan rockfill dam, the 61 m Chah Chahe earthfill dam, the 60 m Cheshmeh Ashegh RCC dam and the 15 m-high Sharab Garoo RCC dam.

In 2018, three new large multipurpose dams were completed: the 112 m-high Sardasht (Veysak) rockfill dam on the river Kelas in the province of Azerbayejan Gharbi, the 95 m-high Hajilar Chai earthfill dam on the river Hajilar Chai in Azerbayejan Sharghi, and the 65 m-high Ezgeleh rockfill dam on the river Imam Hasan in Kermanshah. Impounding of the 65 m-high Zernkan rockfill dam on the river Zemkan, also in Kerrnanshah province, was completed in 2018.

There are 46 dams at least 60 m high under construction as of the end of March (2019) for scheduled completion between 2019 and 2028 with a total water storage of 15.13 × 109 m3, of which 19 are earthfill, 16 are rockfill, 6 are multiple arch concrete, 4 are RCC and 1 is an asphaltic core rockfill dam.

Five dams with a height of 150 m or higher are under construction, listed here in expected order of commissioning:

  • Chamshir (151 m-high, RCC dam, 176 MW, 2022);
  • Haraz (Mangol) (150 m-high, rockfill dam, 25 MW, 2023);
  • Khersan 3 (195 m-high, multiple arch dam, 410 MW,2023);
  • Bakhtiyari (275 m, multiple arch, 750MW,2026), also for
  • flood control; and,
  • BeheshtAbad (178 m, multiple arch, multi-purpose,2O21).

There are also five RCC dams and one asphaltic core rockfill dam above 30 m high but less than 60 m under construction as of March (2019) with a combined reservoir capacity of 698 x 106 m3. The five RCC multipurpose dams to be completed by 2023 are the 58 m-high Baghan, 57.2 m-highTaraz,54.5 mhigh

Kahir,45 m-high Divaresh and 44 m-high Ghadrooni. The 34.8 m-high Gabrik asphaltic core rockfill dam is scheduled to be commission ed rn 2022.

Three multipurpose dams are planned within the next five years: the 79.5 m-high Bahoosh earthfill dam, the 127 m-high Kasiliyan CFRD rockfill dam and the 49.5 m-high AzizKiyan RCC dam.

Power Sector

The Ministry of Energy (MoE) is responsible for power sector policy and planning. The wholesale power market is operated by the Iran Grid Management Company (IGMC) under the regulatory supervision of Iran Adjusting Power Market Association, which is a subsidiary of the MoE. Iran had an installed capacity of 80 399 MW as of the end of the 2018 Iranian calendar year (ending 21 March 2019), of which fossil fuel-fired capacity totalled 64 829 MW, accounting for 80.6 per cent of the total, and comprising 24 923 MW of combined cycle gas turbine capacity (CCGT), 24 077 MW of conventional natural gas plant, 15 829 MW of steam capacity (mostly natural gas but also fuel oil) and 439 MW of diesel. Hydropower capacity (storage, run-of-river and pumped storage) totalled 12 026 MW or 15 per cent. Iran also has a single 1020 MW nuclear power plant, 700 MW of other renewables and 1385 MW of distributed generation. State owned capacity controlled through the MoE accounted for 44 per cent of the total capacity, with 56 per cent owned by other state and private sector entities including 7 per cent by large industrial users.

Gross power production totalled 310 945 GWh, of which 294 323 GWh or 91.9 per cent was generated by fossil fuel-fired thermal plants, 15 667 GWh by hydropower and 995 GWh by renewables. Electricity demand rose 2.5 per cent in 2018-19 to 261 367 GWh, of which households accounted for 33.5 per cent, industry for 33.4 per cent, agriculture for 15 per cent, public sector (including government institutions) for 9 per cent, and businesses for 7 per cent. Household consumption averaged 2865 kWh. In 2018-19Iran registered net exports of 3772 GWh with exports of 6324 GWh against imports of 2553 GWh. Peak load in 2018-19 was registered at 57 098 MW.

Hydropower Development

The technically feasible hydropower potential is estimated to be about 60 000 GWh/year. The technically and economically feasible potential is 50 000 to 40 000 GWh/year. The majority of this potential is on the river Karun. Installed hydro capacity for 2018-2019 totalled 12 026 MW, accounting for 15 per cent of total national capacity. Annual pure hydropower generation averages 13 162 GWh, equating to an average of five per cent oftotal national production. In 2018-2019 pure hydropower generated 15 667 GWh, equivalent to five per cent of total output. There are 27 hydro plants with capacities greater than 10 MW. There is 804 MW of hydro capacity, which is more than 40 years old. There is potential for uprating existing units to provide an additional 200 MW.

Iran also has 1040 MW of pumped storage capacity. As of the end of the 20 1 8- 1 9, a total of 20 hydropower projects totalling 2167 MW and annual output of more than 5 TWh were known to be under construction for commissioning by 2028, including six large plants: Sardashr (150 MW, 422 GWh, 2019-2020); Bakhtiyari (750 MW, 1500 cwh, 2025-30); Chamshir (176 MW, 577 GWh, 2O2O-21); Khoda Afarin (100 llllW, 275 GWh, 2021-22); and, the Roodbar Lorestan (400 MW, 1375 cwh, 2023) and Azad (340 MW, 745 GWh, 2021-22) pumped-storage projects. Six large projects with a combined installed capacity of 2138 MW and average annual output of 5480 GWh are planned for full commissioning by 2030: Karoon 2 (648 MW, 2100 GWh); Khersan 3 (410 MW, 1106 GWh); Gotvand (640 MW); Aras (100 MW, 725 GWh); and, the expansion of the Dez plant (540 MW,965 GWh) and the Seymare pumped-storage plant (400 MW,584 GWh).

Small Hydro

There is about 3400 GWh/year of small hydropower potenrial in Iran. As of the end of 2018-19, Iran had a small hydropower capacity of 88 MW and average annual production of around 500 GWh. Six projects totalling 33 MW are under construction as part of multi-purpose dam projects (8.5 MW Kavar,’7 MW Gelevard Neka, 6 MW Ab Sardeh, 4.6 MW Shafa Rood, 4 MW Balarood and 2.5 MW Kheirabad Behbahan). A total of 489 MW of further capacity with esrimated annual output of 2800 GWh is expected to be developed over the next ten years.

Environmental and Social Aspects

An environmental impact assessment has to be carried out for all large projects under construction or planned. Related reports are provided by specific consulting companies and are reviewed and approved by the Iranian Department of Environment. Iran Water & Power Resources Development Company takes the lead role in undertaking environmental and social programmes. The Ministry of Energy and regional water authority organizations increase public awareness through media campaigns and holding related exhibitions.


Other Renewables

Iran has significant renewable energy potential. The southern provinces are an ideal location for solar projects with high solar irradiation (direct nominal irradiation of up to 5.5 kWh/m, day) and an average of 300 sunny days per year. Nearly 30 x 106 ha or 18.5 per cent of Iran’s territory receives solar irradiance exceeding 250 Wlm2, while 1.3 per cent of Iran’s territory (2.1 x 106 ha) has a mean annual wind speed of 8 m/s or higher. To support development, the Ministry of Energy offers a 2O-year guaranteed offtake at higher rates than end-user prices. Iran plans to increase the share of non-hydro renewables in its total power generation capacity to 5 per cent or around 4 GW by 2021 and aims to increase its renewable energy capacity to 7.5 GW by 2030. As of April (2019), installed renewable power capacity stood at 700 MW, comprising 285 MW of wind, 303 MW of solar PV, 88 MW of small hydro, and 14 MW of waste-to-energy.

Future Outlook

Significant new generation capacity is required to avoid supply shortages in the short-to-medium term. According to the Vision 2025 programme, power consumption is forecast to increase by an average of 3 per cent over the next decade to reach276.43 TWh by 2025. To address this, Iran expects to increase its installed capacity by 25 GW or 5 GW per year over the five-year period to 2021, according to its sixth development plan, which was approved in March 2017. This capacity is to be developed through various PPP models such as BOO or BOT, which may be funded through domestic as well as international finance. The increase in production is expected to be driven mainly by new build, most notably gas-fired capacity, but also through the conversion of simple cycle gas plants to combined cycle technology, which could add 8.7 GW of additional capacity and raise average efficiency of power plants from 38 to 50 per cent, while retrofitting old steam plants could add 1.3 GW. The government also plans to increase renewable generation capacity by 5 GW by 2021 and for the share of solar and wind power in total production to reach 10 per cent by 2025. Hydropower capacity is expected to increase to about 20 GW by 2025, with a particular focus on developing hydropower resources in the southern province of Khuzestan.