Nuclear Iran, Reloaded

In the Reloaded version of my blog, I'll write about Iran, its nuclear program, its culture, and most importantly, myself.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Other Energy Sources

taken from www.moe.org.ir
Travis, one of my friends from Montreal, mentioned a very good point is his comment to one of my earlier posts:

    Does iran have zero options for other sources of energy? Hydroelectric, solar, and wind come to mind. While they are more expensive in the short run, they could also help to alleve Iran's energy issues to a certain extent while improving its indisputably shoddy image on the world stage.

Yes, Iran does have other renewable energy options, and she is currently taking advantage of them. A link that I found using a simple google search (in Persian) listed over 300 dams in Iran, many of which produce electricity. A report by Iran’s ministry of energy (.PDF, Persian, 2004) states that 14% of the produced electricity in Iran comes from hydroelectric power plants.

Iran has also invested in wind energy.
Manjeel wind power plant is one of the 26 wind farms in Iran and is very close to my home town (and that is why I know it). Believe it or not, it is administered by Atomic Energy Organization of Iran. It barely provides enough electricity for the city of Manjeel. There are also few geothermal plants around mount Sabalan that produce 100MW of electricity, which amounts to 0.3% of the total production. What I can conclude is that all types of renewable energies are not necessarily suitable for all regions. "Other Renewable options" are very easy to talk about, but feasibility, efficiency, and cost are factors that must be taken into account.

Bushehr nuclear power plant (which was supposed to become operational by 1970s, but is stil under construction!) has a nominal power of about 1000 MW which will amount for 3% of the current electricity production. Iran is planning to produce 20,000 MW of nuclear electricity by 2020.

As I understand by studying the above mentioned numbers (which are the results of a half-hour web-research), the renewable energies cannot provide a great portion of Iran’s energy consumption.

About the second sentence is his comment, I should say that I don’t agree with him. Iran has been, is being, and will be demonized by the United States, no matter what it does (
example), or does not (example). So, she’d better move forward (if not giving in!). Don’t you think?

7 Comments:

Blogger Hugo said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Sat Mar 04, 11:18:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Hugo said...

Amir,
Thanks for the numbers. It was pretty clear to me that renewable energies such as solar or wind are good to research and invest in at the local level, but I don't think they can (yet) account for a major part of the energy production.
When oil runs out or becomes prohibitely expensive (soon!), nuclear energy is but about the only one currently able to fill in and bridge some of the gap.

As for the second part, I agree Iran is being widely demonized, and the "axis-of-evil/rogue-state/supporting-terrorrism" alibis are often used as one-size-fits-all excuses to avoid looking at the situation in a fair and even-handed way.
I just wish sometimes Iran would also do even more to better their situation and image (even if they feel they've already done a lot).
Anything that *can* be used by the US to criticize Iran *will* likely be used. So I don't know if pulling out of the additional protocol was such a good idea for example. it just gave fresh fodder to western newspapers to print headlines citing Iran as a threat.
Some of Ahmadinejad's statements are not helping either.

Sat Mar 04, 11:20:00 PM 2006  
Anonymous Travis said...

Amir,

It's good that there are already a large number of alternative energy sources in Iran. They are indeed prohibitively expensive at the moment. But isn't Iran's governments one of the wealthiest at the moment because it provides (according to Ashkan) few services to its people, but has huge amounts of oil income?

If Iran is really dedicated to not being pressured or demonized, it could support its statement that nuclear research is just for energy by also investing in less cost-effective energy sources. If it spends money on more hydroelectric power, it would be better able to justify its investment in nuclear power on the ground not that it "has an inherent right" to use nuclear power, but that it needs electricity for its people.

The USA is not the only country that is demonizing Iran (I choose that word only because it was chosen by Amir, not because I would select it personally) - every Western nation that was affected by the cold war including Russia has a strong interest in seeing that more countries do not become capable of generating nuclear weapons.

The USA is clearly not helping the situation, by constantly threatening to spend more of its taxpayers' money on war-mongering. But its position, and the diplomatic overtures of Russia and of other countries, all point to the preference that third parties be involved in nuclear development.

Iran needs to recognize the fear that the rest of the world experiences - expressed as pleadings for diplomacy or threats of military action - and act on that if it wishes to be demonized less.

Sun Mar 05, 08:10:00 PM 2006  
Anonymous Travis said...

Amir,

You noted that you think that Iran should just move forward regardless of whether the USA continues to demonize it or not. It is precisely that kind of behaviour that fosters distrust, regardless of whether Iran had offered help in the wake of Sept. 11.

In order to get a good international reputation, I believe that a country must several favourable deeds for every unfavourable one, and make sure that the world notices. The USA, which has a horrible international reputation, is an example. While it does many undeniably good things for people around the world, it also does extremely self-interested things that are widely-publicized. Selecting two articles in newspapers is not sufficient to prove good intentions on the part of Iran.

To use an old cliché, actions speak louder than words. Iran must demonstrate unerring good faith and transparency before it will be accepted among the developed non-USA nations and cease to be "demonized". And even when it does that, the USA itself will likely continue to demonize it.

Iran has a knack for doing extreme harm to its international reputation. In Canada, for instance, look at this story. This is not US propaganda. I try to be relatively neutral and base my opinions on verifiable facts, but this story definitely harmed my opinion of Iran's government and treatment of its citizens.

A nation cannot blame the actions of another for its own actions. The ills that the people of Iran experience and the behaviour of the Iranian government cannot be solely, or even largely, attributed to the demonization of the USA. If a nation wants to be taken seriously on the world stage and not treated like a child, it has to take responsibility for its own actions and have some degree of empathy for the reactions of others to its actions.

Sun Mar 05, 08:34:00 PM 2006  
Anonymous Amir said...

Hello Travis,

Thanks for stopping by.

Let me clarify something first. I am not here to defend Iranian government's actions and wrongdoings. I traveled to Ottawa twice to vote against Ahmadinejad. Therefore, do not expect me to justify what I criticize myself. At the same time, I won’t be unfair to him. For example, I hated it when Ahmadinejad called Holocaust a myth, or when he said "Israel should be wiped off the map", but at the same time I didn't like the misinterpretation by the western media that quoted what he said as "destruction of Israel".

Now, let me write about *my understanding* of what you said in your first comment:

Paragraph1. "isn't Iran's governments one of the wealthiest?":
I won't put it that way. Iran gains a lot of revenue from oil, but its amount is about the same as the revenue India makes from developing softwares (this is what I read about 4 or 5 years ago and may not be correct now). In terms of providing services to people, yes, Ashkan is right. It provides few services as compared to Canada, for example. Air pollution and traffic problems have not been properly taken care of and public transportation is inefficient, but, the government subsidizes education (which I find useful) and gas for automobiles (which I find useless)! I won't say that government services don't exist, but I'd rate it "terrible" mainly due to management issues, corruption and political bribes. (Let me add that Ahmadinejad won the election because he promised to oppose corruption).

Paragraph 2. “if it spends money on more hydroelectric power,..”
I cannot comment on this. Budgeting different sections in energy production industries is well above my knowledge. It will definitely require a lot of calculations and estimations. But what do you mean by “more”? More than what Iran is spending now? Or more than what Iran is spending on its nuclear program?

Paragraph 3&4. “The USA is not the only country that is demonizing Iran … every Western nation that was affected by the cold war including Russia has a strong interest in seeing that more countries do not become capable of generating nuclear weapons.”
Of course. The lesser the number of nuclear countries, the better for nuclear countries! BTW, The USA has the lead in demonizing Iran. I don’t think Russia has demonized Iran in this particular issue. (They never made up false evidence of “weapons program in Iran”)

Paragraph 5.
I totally agree with you.

Mon Mar 06, 07:21:00 PM 2006  
Anonymous Amir said...

Hello again Travis,
Now, your second comment:
Yes. I still think that Iran should move forward (towards the better). Iran should not sign a deal to give up its right. Iran should experience all its energy source options.

I don’t think that the solution I presented fosters distrust.

I agree with you that in order to get a good international reputation there has to be “several favorable deeds for every unfavorable one”. In order to make sure that the world notices, however, a country needs a powerful broadcasting network, or needs to be friends with a country that has one. (Let’s talk about Saudi Arabia in a later discussion).

I didn’t select the articles to prove good intentions on the part of Iran. I wanted to show that such things are not reflected in the mainstream media. (link1 and link2).

About your last two paragraphs: I totally agree with you. The Iranian government has not yet understood the simple fact that without the support from its own people and the intellectuals, it has no where to go.

Mon Mar 06, 08:53:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Winston said...

Iran under the Mullahs has become a Demon. Big Time!

Tue Mar 14, 12:47:00 PM 2006  

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