Iran has relied primarily on a fossil fuel based energy sector to power its country, however in the last decade Iran has made steps to decrease its dependency on fossil fuels by investing in the renewable energy of wind power. This article discuss the process as well as the reasons for Iran’s interest in renewable energy; the positive and negative effects as a result of the presence of wind power the political dynamics occurring in Iran; and its attempt to also invest in nuclear energy as well. Wind power in Iran has been experiencing a growth in wind generation in recent years, and has a plan to substantially increase wind generation each year. In 2006, Iran generated 45 megawatts of electricity from wind power (ranked 30th in the world). This was a 40% increase over 32 megawatts in 2005.
Total wind generation in 2004 was 25 megawatts out of 33,000 megawatts total electrical generation capacity for the country. In 2008, Iran’s wind power plants in Manjil (in Gilan province) and Binaloud (in Razavi Khorasan province) produce 128 megawatts of electricity. By 2009, Iran had wind power capacity of 130 MW. Sadid Industrial Group is a well-known domestic manufacturer in this field. India’s Sulzon Energy and Germany’s Siemens are also potential providers of wind turbines to Iran. Iran is a member of the Global Wind Energy Council. As a result of climate change and extreme pollution, the 21st century has seen the world increase its use of renewable resources from hydro power, solar power and wind power. Iran does not have any rivers large enough that would produce enough energy for a hydroelectric dam to be an effective source of renewable energy. As for solar power, Iran is a great county for solar power to be an effective source of energy its warm and dry climate would be ideal for a large scale solar farm.
However, with the extreme sanctions placed on Iran, the import of materials and resources to start a large scale solar power initiative would be extremely expensive and time-consuming, as materials would be hard to attain legally or cheaply. With so many challenges and obstacles facing Iran’s energy sector they started to search for a more practical energy solution: wind power. Iran began really investing in wind power in the early 2000s and has increased the size and scale of its wind turbines. Since its implementation Iran’s wind power has been generating increased amounts of energy which has steadily been growing over the last 10 years. With the help from Sadid Industrial Group (Iranian manufacturing company) and investments as well as resourcesfrom Indian (Sulzon Energy) and German (Siemens) wind turbine companies, Iran has been able to build a strong and stable wind sector very quickly and effectively. In 2004 Iran generated only 25 megawatts with their wind power, a year later their production grew to 32 megawatts and in 2006 megawatt production increased again to 45 megawatts. With this stable and consistent increase in electricity production Iran has continued to invest in their wind farms, in 2009 their wind production had greatly increased to 130 megawatts.
This was a result of the production of larger wind farms in more coastal and windy areas of Iran, such as Manjeel (Gilan province) and Binaloud (Razavi Khorasan Province). With such rapid growth in the wind energy sector Iran is currently ranked 30th in the world for wind energy produced, and is a member of the Global Wind Energy Council. Despite Iran’s impressive and effective use of wind power as a renewable resource and source of electricity, the current total of 150 megawatts produced a year is still just an extremely small fraction of Iran’s annual energy consumption which is an estimated 33,000 megawatts. Iran is still very dependent on fossil fuels and nuclear power to provide the country with almost all of its power. With wind power being a very cheap and effective renewable resource and does not take up large amounts of land, Iran is still investing in their wind power. However, with international sanctions starting to be eased with the recent nuclear deal with the United States, it is likely that Iran will be investing more in their nuclear program rather than the wind power. One issue with Iran’s wind program is that around every 10–15 years or so wind turbines require repairs and if they are not properly maintained then the turbines will no longer function. If Iran refocuses its priorities to nuclear power rather than their wind farms then the progress they have made in wind power could be in jeopardy. Although wind power is only a small fraction of Iran’s energy, it is a renewable resource and has produced increased megawatts on a consistent basis—as well as being a relatively cheap and easy power source to maintain.
However, now with international sanctions on Iran being lessened it could have the potential to explore more renewable energy options like solar power while maintaining the growth of wind power. Such measures could prove to be an effective and environmentally friendly way to meet Iranian energy needs without being too rooted in fossil fuels and nuclear options.