New push for hydropower schemes

14 June 2002

Energy Ministry affiliate Iran Water & Power Resources Development Company (IWPC)plans to revive the Siah-Bisheh hydropower project as part of the company's strategy to add new hydropower capacity to the existing 2,000 MW over the next decade. The move follows the completion of a study carried out by France's Electricite de France (EdF)determining the feasibility of the project.

'We have studied the project again with EdF and it is feasible,' says Hamid Zargarpour, managing director and chairman of the board at IWPC. Zargarpour says that companies will be invited to bid for the build-operate-transfer (BOT) project within the next six-seven months. Siah-Bisheh will be the first local hydropower project to be carried out on a BOT basis. The project will cover the construction of two dams and a 1,000-MW power station, which will provide peak-load energy.

The scheme was first tendered in the early 1980s, with Germany's Lahmeyer Internationalacting as consultant, but was stopped when 10 per cent of the civil works were completed due to financial shortages.

Zargarpour says that up to 7,500 MW of new hydropower capacity is under construction in Iran, including the Masjid-e Soleiman hydroelectric plant, which is planned to produce 2,000 MW of power by 2005, and the Karkeh dam in southeastern Iran, which will soon be fully operational, producing 400 MW of energy (Iran, MEED Special Report, 15:2:02, pages 29-30).

In addition, IWPC is studying the installation of another 10,000 MW of hydropower, including new dam projects in Gilan and Lorestan provinces.

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