Ministry of Petroleum
The Ministry of Energy has specific and certain missions which can be categorized into four sections:
1) The water sector: To identify and store water resources before supplying and distributing them to cities and villages. To protect and efficiently exploit underground and surface water resources.
2) The wastewater sector: To treat and supply drinking water to the cities, villages and collect and transfer waste from cities and villages.
3) The electricity and energy sector: To utilize experts’ help to produce, transfer, and distribute electricity to cities and villages. Also to conduct studies and research on and implementation of projects on renewable energies.
The water sector
Iran is located in one of the world’s semi-arid regions. considering its everyday population growth, Iran requires more water resources. Besides, agricultural, and industrial development requires the supply of water. water is one of the most strategic commodities in the current century and this makes it necessary to adopt principle strategies to exploit renewable water resources.
According to estimates, the capacity of Iran’s renewable water resources is 130 billion cubic meters. currently, the country has the potential to exploit 94 billion cubic meters of these resources. Some 27 % is done so with the use of reservoir dams, 19 % from the exploitation of the natural regime of rivers and traditional springs, and 54 % through the exploitation of underground resources. According to this, one of the most important aims of Iran’s Ministry of energy is to supply and distribute good quality water, electricity, and energy which are one of the vital needs of the country.
The Ministry of energy was established in 1963, bearing the name of the Ministry of water and electricity, The Ministry was to render services to all the people all over the country. Contrary to the global annual average of 750 mm per year, Iran has a precipitation of 250 mm per year. It is considered one of the world’s semi-arid regions. however, various methods have been used since the time of ancient Iran to exploit water resources.
The existence of old water structures such as the Krit Dam which was constructed using building material (such as stone and stucco) is classed as Iran’s highest ancient arch dam. Besides, Qom’s 10 meter-high Kabar dam, with a capacity of 70,000 cubic meters which was built in the 5th century AD, is another pride of Iran’s dam-construction industry. on the other hand, the Qanats which our ancestors dug in the country’s dry and desert regions, are classed as an Iranian invention that was used to gain access to needed water.
In Iran, Qanats are the underground channels that are used to transfer water to the surface of the earth with the use of an inclination less than that of the earth’s surface. The source of the Qanats is the layer of the earth 50-80 feet (between 16-26 meters) below its surface where water collects and covers an area of more than 300 feet (nearly 100 meters).
Iran’s dam-construction industry began using modern methods to build various dams, especially large dams, three decades ago. the country’s dam-construction industry entered a new era in the 1980s and the country’s water industry set self-sufficiency in this field as its top priority and ultimate goal. indeed, the commencement of work on the Karaj Dam and Tehran’s pipeline network in 1925, was the beginning of new developments in the creation of new structures for the management of water resources. Following the inauguration of Ekbatan Dam in the provincial city of Hamedan and the establishment of the Independent Irrigation Foundation, the professional construction of dams was pursued.
Up until now, 190 large dams and 320 small dams were built, 91 dams are under construction and studies are being carried out on the construction of 181 dams. Some of the most important projects being implemented include the Karkhe, Karun-3, and Karun -4 dams which are being built on the Karkhe and Karun rivers respectively. The Karkhe dam is important in terms of the supply of water needed for irrigation and flood control. The Karun-3 and 4 dams on the other hand are greatly important for the generation of electricity. The Karkhe Dam, which was built on the Karkhe river, is a rock-fill dam. its height is 127 meters and its crest is 3030 meters long. The Karun-3 which was built completely by the capable hands of Iranian experts is a concrete arch dam. The dam’s hydroelectric power plant has a capacity of between 2000 – 3000 Mw and it is capable of producing 4137 GW/h of electricity.
The Karun-4 dam is a planned hydroelectric dam on the Karun River in the province of Chahar Mahal and Bakhtiari, Iran. The Karun-4 has the highest discharge of Iran’s rivers.  The objectives of the construction of the Karun-4 dam & hydro-electric Power Plant are the electric Power supply and flood control. Karun-4 dam is 230 meters high from the foundation, length of the crest is 440 meters and crest width is 7 meters and is capable of generating electricity of 2107 GW/h per annum.
The dam-construction industry has progressed to the stage where now it can export its capabilities to other countries. work on the Friendship Dam was completed by Iranian experts to strengthen the friendship between Iran and Turkmenistan. currently, the Iranian Energy Ministry is implementing the Sang-e Tudeh-2 and friendship, Khadafarin and Kenieh dam projects in Tajikistan, the Republic of Azerbaijan, and Mali respectively. Moreover, various dam-construction projects are either understudy or implementation in countries such as Pakistan, Venezuela, Iraq, Uzbekistan, and Nicaragua.
As far as the water sector is concerned, in addition to dam-construction, credits are being allocated through domestic resources and loans by the world and Islamic Development Banks for the construction of new irrigation and drainage networks as well as the renovation and repair of existing networks to supply the necessary water needed by the agricultural sector.
Moreover, with the strategic support of the Regional Center on Urban Water Management (RCUWM) and Unesco, various plans and actions were taken on the implementation of international projects regarding the efficient quantitative and qualitative management of the environment of water resources, so that to supply drinking water and to protect Iran and the Middle east’s environment. In line with this, during past years’ joint agreements were signed with Holland on the sustainable management of water, the protection of the environment of water resources, and the defining and implementation of joint projects, especially on the environment and the matter of lessening the impacts of the construction of water structures.
Despite the experience of Iranians in the construction and exploitation of waste water networks, especially the Takht-e- Jamshid sewage disposal system and other historic structures in Iran, the waste water sector was one of the scientific fields on which work began very late. Following the population growth in the 1960s, studies were carried on the problems regarding the distribution and supply of water in the country. It seemed necessary to outline a principle plan which would enable the country to lessen the above problems, to achieve full industrial growth, and to forecast the export of engineering services to other countries.
Some of the primary steps taken to achieve these objectives included the establishment of the water and waste water companies in late 1989. currently, two urban and rural water and wastewater companies were established in every province of the country where they offer various services to their customers. The attention paid to the issue of water supplies, treatment of waste water, and the performance of the above companies had such an impact that according to the World Health Organization there are currently no water-related illnesses in Iran.
As far as the rendering of technical and engineering services are concerned, with no doubt the quantitative increase in the number of water and waste water projects during the past two decades, has resulted in the training of competent manpower working for various companies and the private sector. in terms of quality and quantity, there has been a higher growth in manpower in the private sector. currently, the country’s consultation engineers Society, contractors, and manufacturers are the capable technical muscles behind the study and implementation of water and wastewater projects. They have taken effective and valuable steps to the extent that the scope of the activities of Iranian companies has spread beyond the country’s borders. International cooperation with international centers and institutions such as The Islamic Development Bank and World Bank, in the construction of refineries, has resulted in the implementation of projects such as the Shiraz and Ahvaz sewage refineries.
On the domestic front, Iranian experts have implemented the country’s largest projects. we can mention the implementation of the project for the construction of a 760-km pipeline with a capacity of 4.5 cubic meters per second to supply water to the coastal cities alongside the Persian Gulf, and the project to construct a 167-km pipeline with a capacity of 6 cubic meters per second to supply water from the Friendship Dam to the city of Mashhad.
On the other hand, in a bid to keep up with the everyday increase of technologies and know-how in the water and sewage industry, during the past years, many sewage refineries have been constructed by using advanced processes and the processes of some wastewater refineries have either been reviewed or improved. Furthermore, modern methods have been employed in the field of water management, (and water treatment factories have been built using the boo and bot methods).
Besides, nongovernmental financial resources have been used to invest in this industry, and experts and designers of water treatment systems in the target regions such as Chahbahar and Qom have been motivated and offered support, and many energy Performance contracts have been implemented. entry into the stage where the necessary technical know-how, for the production of equipment which was not manufactured inside the country such as class c meters and pin butterfly valves, were either purchased or acquired resulted in 230 242 in Iran’s industry progressing to the stage where it was possible to manufacture this equipment. examples of this progress are the signing of multi-dimensional contracts with manufacturers to supply the raw material for machinery, production equipment, or complementary equipment to improve the quality of products.
Also, many endeavors were made in the various fields of water and wastewater management which resulted in the whole of the Iranian urban population gaining access to drinking water. This issue has been mentioned in the UN’s Millennium Development goals reports as one of the important goals which Iran must achieve. Since the establishment of these companies, some 103 sewage refineries and 313 water treatment centers have been built and the Ministry of energy is seriously pursuing plans to construct and equip urban and rural sewage networks.
Electricity and Energy
The electricity industry and the production, distribution, and supply of electricity is one of the Ministry of energy’s other missions. Iran’s electricity industry came into being nearly 100 years ago and made relative progress until 40 years ago and quickly grew and progressed. This is to the extent that currently, Iran’s electricity industry ranks 20th in the world and first in the Middle East region in terms of electricity generation.
During this time, the electricity industry’s indices such as the sale and generation of electricity at power plants increased 4 – 11 folds. The amount of electricity produced at power plants increased from 7,000 Mw to 55000 MW and the number of its customers has increased from 4 million to more than 22 million. In 1978, 14 billion KW/h of electricity was sold and by 2006, this figure reached 147 billion KW/h. As far as electricity supplies are concerned, despite the geographical dispersion of the country’s villages, nearly all of the country’s villages with 20 households or more enjoy electricity supplies. Solar energy, as one of the most important parts of renewable energies, is planned to be used for supplying electricity to villages with less than 20 households.
The electricity industry management created the widespread potential for the manufacture of equipment and the design and supervision of various projects in the country. The country’s progress in that regard was to the extent that currently, in addition to meeting domestic demand, a large portion of the region’s market is in the hands of Iranian producers and manufacturers.
In line with this, fundamental and important measures have been taken concerning the generation of electricity. Some of the signs of progress made in the power plant electricity industries include the manufacture of power plant boilers and cooling towers with the capability to handle capacities of more than 300 MW, the manufacture of generators with voltages of up to 150 MW, the manufacture of many logistical parts for various systems, power plants and electrical goods and also tools for power plants, the manufacture of gas turbines with a capacity of up to 160 MW, and the manufacture and repair of turbine propellers.
In face of this, currently, the country’s thermal power plants are being built by Iranian experts by using equipment manufactured inside the country. In the hydroelectric sector, all of the hydro-mechanic as well as various generators and turbine parts and equipment are manufactured in Iran either independently or with limited foreign cooperation. Besides, most of the equipment needed for the distribution and transfer networks is being manufactured inside the country by capable Iranian industrialists.
Currently, the whole of the country, all its cities, and villages are connected to the national electricity grid. Besides, our country’s national electricity grid is connected to that of its neighbors such as the Republic of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Nakhchivan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey, and Iraq which have a joint land border with Iran. The country conducts its electricity exports via this integrated electricity grid.
In recent years, to improve the country’s productivity and efficiency, numerous plans have been pursued to renovate the electricity industry’s infrastructure with the use of global experience based on Iran’s requirements. The establishment of the electricity stock market created competition in electricity generation. Following the implementation of new policies, some of the main strategies followed by the electricity industry, include the drawing up of suitable legal bills, privatization, and the use of non-governmental and foreign investment. Based on the Ministry of Energy’s decisions, it was agreed that to lessen the government’s involvement in the production of electricity, the government would not build any electricity power plants beyond the year 2007.
Also, based on these policies, except for the main electricity distribution network, the production and sale of electricity will be handed over to the private sector and non-governmental companies. This is so the output of the network will increase, electricity waste will lessen, and the usage of new technologies in the distribution system will increase. Moreover, in line with this, not only has the construction of new thermal power plants been handed over to the private sector but also emphasis has been laid on the involvement of foreign investors in the construction of new power plants. The construction of the Rudshur Power Plant in southern Esfahan was carried out with the participation of German companies. It’s noteworthy that if approved by the parliament (Majlis), the distribution of electricity will be controlled by provincial non-governmental companies. The shares of these companies will be made available gradually.
The increase in electricity consumption in Iran created a competitive market for activities in that industry. This fact together with privatization policies has created a suitable platform for indigenous and foreign companies to be active in Iran’s electricity industry. In addition to using the Ministry of Energy investments and supporting Iranian companies’ activities regarding the development and renovation of electricity networks, these new policies have welcomed the presence of foreign investors and companies on this scene.
One of the challenges of the 21st century is the everyday increase in energy demand. Sustained economic development depends on attention being paid to issues such as production security, economic competition, the protection of the environment, and continuous growth. The use of renewable energies in that regard can play an important role in meeting energy demand, developing the villages, creating job opportunities, and most importantly protecting the environment. Issues such as global warming, atmospheric changes, and widespread droughts are great threats facing mankind.
From years ago, road maps for the development of the country’s renewable energies have been drawn up based on financial, economic, social, and international considerations. In line with its plans for constant progress, the Islamic Republic of Iran has taken important steps to use 232 244 liquid gas as the main fuel of power plants and other energy-consuming units. Furthermore, Iran’s achievements in the recent decade include the use of large hydroelectric dams with a total capacity of 6000 MW, the completion of work on small 110-MW water, solar, and wind generators, the carrying out of R&D processes in the development of the energy networks, and the supply of electricity to villages. This trend is set to continue in the future.
The overall policies regarding the development of new energies have resulted in the establishment of renewable energies’ research centers so that to facilitate the use of technologies and reduce initial costs. Following the establishment of this center, it seemed necessary to create a mechanism for the development of renewable energies by implementing continuous plans regarding renewable energies, to define priorities and set policies for both the private and public sectors. Moreover, in a bid to motivate the private sector to invest in renewable energies, agreements have been signed on the purchase of electricity generated through the use of renewable energies.
Based on the mentioned policies, some of the country’s energy sector regulations have either been eased or removed to achieve the necessary conditions needed for the country to join various global and regional treaties whilst considering its interests and welfare. good conditions have been created to define bilateral exchanges at the international level and to suitably reconsider foreign relations whilst considering the country’s interests and welfare. So, relations with international organizations were expanded and the technical know-how of international institutions and organizations such as France’s ADMEME, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United National environment program (UNEP), Japan’s JAICA, and Thailand’s AIT, was used. Also, cooperation was started with the European Union in the form of a dialogue on the Iran-EU energy policies.
Renewable energy projects have resulted in many achievements. These achievements consist of the manufacture of wind turbines, hydro heating systems, parabolic trough wave regulators, and solar photovoltaic panels for the two governmental sectors. Besides, the country’s wind atlas was drawn up to identify the exact potential of Iran’s wind energy. According to this atlas, the country’s wind energy is estimated to be 20,000 MW. Besides, the Manjil, Binalud, and other wind turbines were set up in various regions and are now responsible for generating a small percentage of the country’s electricity. Feasibility studies are being carried out for drawing up Iran’s solar energy atlas.
The Yazd Solar Power Plant which can generate 467 MW of energy and consists of a 159 MW gas unit, a 132 MW steam generator, and a 17 Mw solar unit, is one of the solar power plants which has been put into operation. In addition to generating electricity, the 55-MW Meshkin Shahr Geothermal Power Plant, which is the first geothermal power plant to be built in the Middle East, which led to the promotion of the tourism industry, and industries such as the cultivation of green house plants and fish, as well as the supply of hot water and research, will play a prominent role in the economic and scientific prosperity of the Middle east region.
Further to implementing the above-mentioned projects, feasibility studies are being carried out on the use of other new energies such as the waves of the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea waters.