Iran’s power grid politics in Central Asia

JUNE 19, 2012 – Iran plans to build two new power lines to Turkmenistan which will boost its electricity export capacity to Central Asia, Iranian energy minister, Abdolhamid Farzam, told state-run news agencies last week.

The new power lines will also, importantly, further integrate Iran with its northern neighbours.

Electricity exports are part of Iran’s wider strategy to turn itself into one of the region’s main electricity producers and exporters. It already exports to most of its neighbours, including Turkmenistan.

According to Iranian media, the government wants to boost its electricity generation capacity by around 50% over the next five years.

This means building more export routes, and Central Asia is the obvious target. Central Asia has become increasingly wealthy, pushing up demand for electricity. Iran has invested heavily in Central Asia recently, improving commercial and political links.

The Iranian TV station, Press TV, quoted Mr Farzam as saying that two more power lines would be built from Iran to Turkmenistan, adding to the solitary line currently used. This extra capacity, he said, would allow Iran to sell power to all the Central Asian countries.

Increasingly close, the new power lines will further integrate Iran with its partners to the north a policy that Tehran has actively been pursuing over the past couple of years.


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