Iran's Energy Policy: Challenges and Choices

Iran is facing serious challenges in the area of energy policy. To define the problems and possibilities that these challenges represent one must first turn to Iran's energy consumption patterns as well as the energy policy of the Iranian government-including its nuclear energy programs. The increase in energy usage in Iran is clearly out of proportion with the rate of the country's economic productivity. Some of the negative structural characteristics of this consumption pattern are an above average energy intensity, an increase in energy consumption in the traffic sector, a high growth rate in the use of electric energy and an inordinate amount of stress on the environment.

Traditionally, Iran's energy policy has focused on satisfying the growing demand for energy by continually expanding its primary energy source of natural gas. However, any further development of the natural gas supply makes sense within the context of a comprehensive energy policy that takes into account the principles of sustainable development. Thus, in the short term, such a policy would take advantage of both the energy-saving techniques, as well as potential renewable sources of energy that can, in the long term, become the exclusive sources for meeting the national demand for energy.

Iran’s motives to gain access to nuclear energy do not seem to be convincing for a variety of reasons including: the country’s access to a variety of renewable, and comparatively less expensive, sources of energy (especially solar and wind energies); electric power plants run with natural gas are economically preferable to nuclear power plants; energy conservation and increased productivity of existing sources of energy obviate the need for access to nuclear sources of energy.

Mohssen Massarrat
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