Determined to stay its unpopular nuclear course, Iran is now turning to wind power and other renewable energy sources to blow past sanctions. Last year Karin reported that the current regime plans to produce 5,000 MW of solar energy by 2015, and in May this year, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad put aside an additional $620 million to grow the country’s nascent renewable energy program.
This commitment from on high is exactly the push that local alternative energy producers needed to explore their respective technologies, and they’re receiving some support from abroad, but challenges abound.
Mega wind potential
Iran has the potential to produce 20,000 MW of wind energy, according to a recent journal entry in the International Journal of Renewable Energy Research.
Of that capacity, only 200 GWh was produced in 2010, which was slightly less than the country produced the previous year.
But local manufacturers who showed off their wares at a recent renewable energy exhibition in Tehran have some confidence that they can surmount the restrictions imposed by international sanctions.
The European Union is prepared to trade in renewables, according to the Wall Street Journal, but a US Treasury spokesperson told the paper that all sales to Iran are banned unless a special license is issued.
Meanwhile, anti-nuclear activists in the US believe that it would be a mistake to trade even in renewable energy since the point of international sanctions is to squeeze Iran so hard that it has no choice but to give up its nuclear program.
Blowing past sanctions – maybe
Nonetheless, the German firm Fuhrländer AG has committed to selling 12 wind turbines to Mapna, according to WSJ, which is one of the country’s largest power contractors.
Under the terms of their agreement, Mapna will be permitted to copy the turbines and manufacturer them in Iran.
Another firm is exploring the potential of converting urban waste from large cities into energy.
But the US-led sanctions are not only restricted to the oil and gas industry. Earlier this year foreign banks were prohibited from conducting financial transactions with Iran, which would make the trade of anything difficult.
In the meantime, everyday Iranians are suffering from the regime’s refusal to budge. Even if renewable energy companies are keen to help mitigate the country’s profound pollution issues and global climate concerns by producing cleaner energy, at the current rate of action, it will be some time before that happens.
Image credit: beautiful woman with wind toy, Shutterstock