Iran Turns To Renewable Energy

National Economy

The population of the Islamic Republic of Iran is approximately 86.58 million people[1]. In 2020, 100.0 % of the people in this country in West Asian had access to electricity[2].

In 2021, Iran’s economy was ranked 26th in the world in gross domestic product (GDP)[3]. The country’s economy is dependent on the export[4] of ethylene polymers, crude oil, nuts, acyclic alcohols, semi-finished iron, and natural gas.

Environmental Policies

In 2016, Iran signed the Paris Climate Agreement[5], committing to a 4% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2030, relative to a business-as-usual scenario. However, Iran is one of only four countries which has not ratified the Paris Climate Agreement.

Power Generation Capabilities

In 2021, the state-owned utility, Tavanir used natural gas (80.5 %), oil (13.6 %), renewable energy (4.7 %), nuclear energy (1.0 %), and coal (0.2 %) to generate electricity[6] in Iran. Hydropower is the dominant type of renewable energy used to generate electricity in Iran.

In January 2022, the Iranian Energy Ministry announced plans to develop 10,000 MW of new renewable projects by 2026.

Recent renewable energy projects in Iran include:

  • 4,000 MW Solar Tender – In June 2022, the Iranian government announced it has pre-selected 85 companies to participate in a solar tender for projects ranging from 10 MW to 250 MW in capacity.
  • 1,500 MW Hydropower Project – The Iran Water and Power Resources Development Company (IWPC) is continuing work on the Bakhtiari hydroelectric project on the Bakhtiari River at a site approximately 250 miles southwest of the nation’s capital.
  • 120 MW Solar Project – In September 2022, Iranian company, Mana Energy Pak commissioned the Mahallat solar project at a site approximately 150 miles south-southwest of Tehran.
  • 2 MW Wind Project – In 2018, Iranian power company, Safa Nicu Sepahan commissioned the Sihapoush wind project, which is located in the northwest region of the country.
  • 50 MW Wind Project – In 2019, Iranian renewable energy company, MAPNA Group commissioned the Aqkand wind project, which is located in the northwest region of the country.


Oil was first discovered in Iran in 1908, in the southwestern province of Khuzestan[7]. In 2021, Iran was the 3rd largest natural gas[8]and the 8th largest crude oil[9] producing country in the world.

The export of petrochemicals, crude oil, natural gas are the cornerstones of Iran’s economy. In 2020, Iran exported[10] U.S. $2.17 Billion in petrochemicals, U.S. $1.18 Billion in crude oil, and U.S. $238 Million in natural gas.

Iran has significant renewable energy resource potential, including onshore wind, hydropower, solar, offshore wind, geothermal, and biomass. Iran’s renewable energy resource potential could easily replace all the fossil fuel (natural gas, oil, and coal) power plants, which provided 94.3 % of the nation’s electricity in 2021.

Why is Iran developing major renewable energy projects? Economics, pure and simple, Iran intends to use renewable energy for domestic power, preserving oil and natural gas resources for export. Iran is turning to renewable energy for domestic power.

Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”


Jack Kerfoot is a scientist, energy expert, and author of the book FUELING AMERICA, An Insider’s Journey and articles for The Hill, one of the largest independent political news sites in the United States. He has been interviewed on over 100 radio and television stations from New York City to Los Angeles on numerous energy related topics.


[1] Iran Population (2022) –  December 2, 2022,

[2] The World Bank Group, Access to Electricity (% of Population)  – Iran

[3] Gross Domestic Product By Country 2021 – Worldometer

[4] Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC) – Iran

[5] Carbon Brief “Paris 2015: Tracking Country Climate Pledges”

[6] Our World In Data, Iran: Energy Country Profile by Hanna Ritchie and Max Roser

[7] The Oil of Iran: Past and Present in Perspective by Gregory Brew, 19 January 2016

[8] Natural Gas Producing Countries 2021 – World Population Review

[9] Crude Oil Producing Countries 2021 – World Population Review

[10] The Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC) – Iran Exports

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