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Over two thirds of Iran’s thermal power capacity privatized: Ministry

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
File photo shows a view to a thermal power plant near the northwestern Iranian city of Tabriz.

Iran’s Ministry of Energy has released new data showing that the private sector owns over two thirds of the capacity of thermal power plants across the country.

The Ministry said on Sunday that private owners are currently generating some 67 percent of Iran’s thermal power.

“Around 44,000 megawatts of the capacity of the thermal power plants comes from the private sector and 21,500 megawatts of this capacity is from the public sector,” said a report on the Ministry’s news service.

The report said the government was seeking to further give up its shares in the operation and ownership of thermal power plants which account for more than 92 percent of Iran’s annual electricity generation.

It said public ownership in Iran’s thermal power will reduce to nearly 15 percent in the near future with the construction of new private plants that could generate an extra 12,800 megawatts of electricity each year.

The report said the government will build its own new plants to add some 6,000 megawatts to the current output figures but it added that nearly double that amount, over 11,000 megawatts, will be privatized at the same time.

Iran’s thermal power plants hit a new record last year by generating some 287 billion megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity.

That comes as the government seeks to increase the share of electricity from renewable sources to both diversify the generation methods and to tackle pollution.

Iran is currently generating just less than one percent of its electricity, some 760 megawatts a year, from renewable sources, including from wind, solar, small hydro, recycled heat and biomass.

The ministry of energy said on Saturday that the private sector had invested some 124 trillion rials (more than $1 billion) in the renewables industry over the past years.

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