An Overview of Energy Planning in Iran and Transition Pathways towards Sustainable Electricity Supply Sector

Vahid Aryanpur, Mohammad Saeid Atabaki, Mousa Marzband, Pierluigi Siano, Kiarash Ghayoumi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Citations (Scopus)
94 Downloads (Pure)


Despite a substantial potential of renewable energy sources, the current energy supply system in Iran relies almost entirely on fossil fuel resources. It has imposed significant financial burden on the country and has led to considerable GHG emissions. Moreover, the country is confronting several challenges for harnessing alternative clean energy sources and promoting rational energy policies over the recent decades. To probe the root cause of these problems, this paper first provides an overview on the previous energy planning attempts in Iran. It shows that adequate commitment to a long-term energy planning could have meaningfully prevented these serious challenges. However, the previous studies have had some limitations in terms of employing appropriate planning tools, comprehensive evaluations, and scenarios definition and ranking. This paper thus proposes a power planning framework to assess the sustainability of future electricity scenarios for the period 2015-2050. MESSAGE, a systems engineering optimization model, is employed to evaluate the potential impacts of transitioning to a low-carbon electricity supply system. Using a combined AHP-TOPSIS method, the scenarios are then ranked based on 18 different techno-economic, environmental, and social dimensions of sustainability. The results indicate that scenario Cl_32, in which the share of non-hydro clean energy for electricity generation reaches 32%, is ranked best.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-74
JournalRenewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews
Early online date27 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019


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