Iran is poised towards building a 100% renewable energy system by 2030 with around $187 billion of investment according to a Finnish University study. The study emphasises on Iran having the capability to achieve a zero-emissions grid with a capital expenditure of around €167 billion ($187 billion).
The Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) in Finland said that the country needs to develop around 49 gigawatts of solar power, 77 gigawatts of wind energy, and 21 gigawatts of hydropower to achieve the zero-emissions grid. As water scarcity is a growing concern in Iran, with a green grid in the picture, water desalinisation could become cost-effective.
Iran depends heavily on natural gas and oil in order to generate power and is one of the most energy-intensive countries in the word. This also features government subsidies for fossil fuels which encourage inefficient energy use. According to the LUT study per capital energy consumption in Iran is 10 times greater than in Europe. The university published the research study at the 11th International Energy Conference held in Tehran.
Water shortage and air pollution are an acute concern for the country and officials are all set to embrace the idea of expanding renewable energy capacity. According to the renewable energy organisation of Iran, SUNA, there are currently 15 wind farms in the country where around 100,000 megawatts of potential capacity exists from the wind source alone.
The research study states that the wind and solar power is the most economical clean energy option and is 50% to 60% less costly than new nuclear capacity or fossil fuel-based power with carbon capture.
The LUT study concluded that a 100% renewable energy system for Iran is found to be a real policy option. Professor Christian Breyer from LUT stated that this required a fundamental change in how we think carbon and it could potentially open major new business opportunities. SUNA is looking at attracting $10 billion of direct private investment by 2018 and $60 billion by 2025. Meanwhile, the national grid is being upgraded which will enable it to cope with the influx of renewables. It is also reported that energy producers from Italy, Germany, Korea, India, and Japan have visited the country to check out possibilities of investment.