Armenia and Iran will start building next month a third transmission line that will connect their power grids and increase Armenian electricity exports to the Islamic Republic, Energy Mnister Yervand Zakharian said on Wednesday.
Work on the project has repeatedly been postponed by the governments of the two neighboring states due to financial issues and obstacles resulting from international sanctions imposed on Iran.
An intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation co-headed by Zakharian and his Iranian counterpart Hamid Chitchian claimed to have cleared all hurdles to its implementation after a meeting held in Tehran in December.
Zakharian announced at the time that the high-voltage line’s construction will start in March and take 18 months. The new facility will allow Armenia to increase electricity supplies to Iran from the current 1.2 billion kilowatt/hours to up to 7 billion kilowatt/hours, he said.
That electricity is generated by Iranian natural gas delivered to Armenian thermal-power plants.
Zakharian on Wednesday spoke of June as the new date for the launch of the construction. He told reporters that the Armenian government will finance its share of the $120 million project with a loan be provided by the Iranian side.
The minister also said that the new Armenia-Iran line will be as powerful as the two existing ones combined.
The sharp increase in electricity exports anticipated by Yerevan will presumably require much higher volumes of Iranian gas supplies. According to government figures, Armenia buys around 500 million cubic meters of gas from Iran annually, compared with approximately 2 billion cubic meters imported from Russia.