The English-language 'Iran Daily' quoted Ali Akbar Zahmatkesh as saying that Iranian contractors are capable of implementing major dam-building projects in any part of the world.
He further said that over 80 percent of the equipment Iran uses in building dams are locally manufactured and the designs prepared by Iranian engineers themselves.
"At present, some 4.3 trillion rials in development funds have been invested in hydro-electric development projects," he said, adding that these funds could generate an additional 800-1,000 megawatts of power to the country's overall power generation capacity.
The official expressed hope the ratio of power generated from the country's hydro-electric power system to that of the entire power generated would increase by 20 percent by the end of the fourth development plan in 2010.
Zahmatkesh further announced that Iran has the capacity to produce an estimated 50,000 million kilowatt/hours of electricity per annum.
He, however, regretted delays that often occur during the building of dams in Iran.
"For instance, the implementation of Masjid Soleyman dam took 7-8 years, whereas building such a huge dam would take a maximum of six years in advanced countries," he said.
He said that a 20-percent delay in the implementation of giant dam-building projects will not cause a great financial loss.
He blamed administrative constraints and improper funding for the usual delays in the completion of dam projects, and announced that some 85 dam projects will become operational by March 2006.
He said 50 percent of projects have been and will be implemented during President Mohammad Khatami's tenure.
Thirty-five major dams have been operating across the country and 54 more were under construction in 1997 when the president first took power by a landslide, he added.
In 1979, when the Islamic Revolution triumphed, the national power generation capacity was 1,800 megawatts. The figure reached 2,000 megawatts in 1997 and will hit a record 5,000 megawatts next year, he concluded.
... Payvand News - 10/17/04 ... --