Iran and Middle East could adopt fully renewable electricity systems

Iran and Middle East could adopt fully renewable electricity systems
Credit: Lappeenranta University of Technology

Iran can transition to a fully renewable electricity system and financially benefit from it by 2030. Researchers at Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) show that major oil-producing countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region could turn their abundant renewable energy resources into lucrative business opportunities in less than two decades.

According to the study, a fully system (100% RE) is roughly 50-60 percent cheaper than other emission-free options for the MENA region. For example, new nuclear power costs around 110 euros per megawatt hour. Fossil-CCS option costs around 120 euros per megawatt hour. But the cost of the fully renewable energy electricity is around 60-40 euros per megawatt hour, based on financial and technical assumptions of the year 2030.

The cost of wind and would reduce further to 37-55 euros per megawatt hour if different were connected with a super grid that allows the transmission of high volumes of electricity across longer distances. For Iran, the price could go as low as 40-45 euros per megawatt hour. Such low cost show that the transition of the current fossil-based electricity system towards a fully renewable electricity system can cover all electricity needs in the decades to come.

"The low cost renewable electricity system is a driver for growing standards of living, continued economic growth, in particular also for energy intensive products, and finally more peace," emphasizes Professor Christian Breyer.

Transforming the electricity system fully to renewables for Iran requires 49 gigawatts of solar photovoltaics, 77 gigawatts of wind power and 21 gigawatts of hydropower. Most of the hydropower already exists, but the solar and wind capacities would require new investments. Wind power can be installed in many parts of the country and solar systems in all parts of Iran for an attractive cost. Both technologies can be easily added to the existing energy infrastructure, which is mainly based on flexible fossil natural gas fired power plants plus hydropower.

The scientists also prepared a renewable oil refining scenario in which fossil fuels are replaced by synthetically produced from carbon dioxide, water and electricity. With this so called power-to-fuel technology, 100% renewable system can still use carbon fuels and chemicals for aviation, materials and medicine. These are the most difficult sectors to decarbonise because batteries are too heavy for powering airplanes and carbon atom is needed in plastics and various chemicals such as solvents and medicine.

"The picture that emerges from that study is that the fossil fuel industry can transform its business to meet the COP21 target of a net zero emission energy system. This requires fundamental change in how we think carbon, but it could potentially open major new business opportunities," says Breyer.


Explore further

High renewable electricity growth continued in 2015

More information: The MENA super grid towards 100 renewable energy power supply by 2030: bit.ly/2m1DINs

The Role of a 100% Renewable Energy System for the Future of Iran: Integrating Solar PV, Wind Energy, Hydropower and Storage: bit.ly/2lGu87c

Renewable Energy-based Synthetic Fuels Export Options for Iran in a Net Zero Emissions World: bit.ly/2m5aXjQ

Citation: Iran and Middle East could adopt fully renewable electricity systems (2017, March 9) retrieved 20 September 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2017-03-iran-middle-east-fully-renewable.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
36 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Mar 09, 2017
There are many reasons to do this.

Here is one:

https://www.thegu...-tsunami

"Dying robots and failing hope: Fukushima clean-up falters six years after tsunami "

Read it, Willie.

Then, here is another:

http://www.ecowat...41.html?

"California Generates Enough Solar Power to Meet Half Its Energy Needs "

Mar 09, 2017
There are many reasons to do this.
Iran and Middle East already know that intermittent renewables are good for their business due to strong dependence on fossil fuels to compensate intermittencies.

Mar 09, 2017
"California Generates Enough Solar Power to Meet Half Its Energy Needs "
Intermittent solar/wind means more fossil fuels.
"California Nuclear Closures Resulted in 250% Higher Emissions from Electricity"
http://www.enviro...missions
"The behemoth Ivanpah solar power plant built with federal subsidies to combat climate change is using increasing amounts of natural gas, a greenhouse-gas-emitting fuel, state and federal data show."
"The most recent numbers from the California Air Resources Board show that in 2015, the plant's second year of operation, carbon emissions from Ivanpah's gas use jumped by 48.4 percent to 68,676 metric tons."
http://www.pe.com...pah.html

Mar 09, 2017
"Dying robots and failing hope: Fukushima clean-up falters", . . and so do dreams of the quick fix, the magic box, the single "answer" to our poorly-defined problems.

$190,000,000,000, Willie.

Pay up.

Mar 09, 2017
"California Generates Enough Solar Power to Meet Half Its Energy Needs "

So... if they only had something else to produce the other half... hmmm...

Mar 09, 2017
We have good winds at night in my area. We also have nearby geothermal.

And lots'o' hydro.

Mar 10, 2017
We have good winds at night in my area. We also have nearby geothermal.

And lots'o' hydro.

Until the Colorado shrinks to nuthin'...
Oh, wait. that's just Southern CA...
And - are you gonna be one of the ones who complain about the constant "thumping" noise they generate?
Oh... maybe they won't be that close to YOUR place...

Mar 10, 2017
Been in lots of hydro plants, WG, and no thumping. If you hear that, run.

Are you Eikka? Trying to find negatives?

We have them all over, that's no trick. The trick is to dodge them, to make them work for you, to turn negatives into assets, to stop finding excuses.


Mar 10, 2017
Here is a reference to the "thumping".

https://en.wikipe...accident

Mar 10, 2017
Been in lots of hydro plants, WG, and no thumping. If you hear that, run. ...

I'm sorry (from my liberal side...?),
I forgot to include the word "wind turbine" in my post.
That is what I was referring to...
As to hydro, just look at the panic and damage the one (sort of) broke dam caused...

Mar 10, 2017
...
As to hydro, just look at the panic and damage the one (sort of) broke dam caused...
Let me be a little more specific - Think of the damage and deaths it COULD have caused had it given way completely...

Mar 10, 2017
If you read the report or watched the video, imagine the forces when those huge rotating masses got pushed off their mounts and into the air.

That's enough excitement for me, . . .

Mar 10, 2017
If you read the report or watched the video, imagine the forces when those huge rotating masses got pushed off their mounts and into the air.

That's enough excitement for me, . . .

Would they have gone into the air? I don't think so. Gravity would have insured they just added to the water and other crap flowing down stream(rapidly)...

Mar 10, 2017
They are too big to fit in the tailrace.

Mar 11, 2017
Vertical axis electrical generators in hydro sit on bearings with the (usually) Francis runner hanging down into the scroll. If the water supplied is more than can be put through the runner, it can lift the generators right out of their mountings, like in Russia.

Mar 12, 2017
But this is not about hydro in the relatively-flat and parched desert.

It regards how renewables can save us and starve the filthy fuel Barons, like Don Blankenship and Rex Tillerson.


Apr 01, 2017
There is a method that produces electricity,using no fossil fuels is zero pollution ,does not use up fuel uses the same over and over,and virtually zero maintenance.Siemans manufacture closed cycle solar turbines and can use our external heat source.Our other method uses recycled gas to drive turbo-expander generators.Any interest to develop these please contact us for discussion.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more