A Finnish university study found that Iran could achieve a zero-emissions grid by 2030 with a capital expenditure of €167 billion ($187 billion).
Iran, one of the world’s largest oil producers, would need to develop about 49 gigawatts of solar power, 77 gigawatts of wind energy and 21 gigawatts of hydropower. A green grid could also make water desalinization cost-effective. Water scarcity is a serious and growing problem in Iran.
Iran, heavily dependent on natural gas and oil, is one of the most energy-intensive countries in the world. Per capita energy consumption is 10 times greater than in Europe, according to the study by the Lappeenranta University of Technology in Finland. Government subsidies for fossil fuels encourages inefficient energy use, even as recent reforms drive up energy costs for consumers.
The renewable buildout would represent a huge leap from Iran’s tiny wind and solar capacity today. But the researchers found that wind and solar power are the most economical clean energy options: 50 to 60 percent less than new nuclear capacity or fossil fuel-based power with carbon capture.
Their conclusion: “A 100 percent renewable energy system for Iran is found to be a real policy option.”
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Photo credit: MEI