Tabas power station

From Global Energy Monitor
This article is part of the CoalSwarm coverage of proposed coal plants worldwide.

Tabas power station was a proposed 650-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station under construction in Tabas, Iran.


The undated satellite photo below centers on the construction site for the power station. While initial construction work cannot be seen in google maps, it can be seen in more recent Planet satellite imagery.

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Background on Plant

The plant would have been Iran's first coal power generation plant. Construction of the plant in Tabas commenced in 2000. The government initially funded the project, but gradual and protracted funding impeded progress.[1][2]

In November 2012, it was reported that Iran planned to develop the plant with the assistance of Chinese financial backing, at a cost of US$1 billion. The power station would generate 650 MW of electricity when it became operational, four years after financing is secured. The project was reported as likely to be kicked off by the end of Iran's Fifth Five-Year Economic Development Plan (2015).[3]

In 2012, the project was listed as under construction.[4][5]

In March 2015, the governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) approved opening of a Chinese letter of credit to help accelerate development of the plant. The plant was reported as 25% complete.[1]

In December 2016, it was reported that a consortium of Iran’s MAPNA Group and China-based Shanghai Electric of State Power Investment Corporation will develop the project. The plant was still reported as 25% complete.[6]

In December 2017, the plant was reported to be abandoned.[7]

In July 2020, the Iran-based Tasmin News reported that the first shipment of turbine equipment had arrived and construction on the power station would be resumed.[8] However, Planet satellite imagery through January 2021 and June 2021 does not appear to show any progress from the initial construction that already took place in January 2016.


The first 25% of the plant was constructed with financing from the Government of Iran.[9] Then, in 2016, it was reported that the Export Development Bank of Iran and a consortium Chinese financial institutions providing a total of US$1 billion in loans were bringing the coal energy project back to life.[10][11] The Climate Policy Initiative reported that the Export-Import Bank of China had agreed to provide US$850 million of the total US$1 billion in loans.[12]

Coal source

The Tabas region in South Khorasan Province holds about 55-76% of Iran’s coal reserves, with an estimated proven coal reserve of 2.5 billion tonnes, including 1.1 billion tonnes of coking coal in Parvadeh region and 1.4 billion tonnes of thermal coal in the Mazino area, according to Iranian news sources. In 2015, it was reported that the coal concentrate output of the Tabas Parvadeh Coal Company was set to reach two million tonnes per annum from the current 750,000 tonnes, as part of a five-year development plan. The increase would be financed by the Chinese MCC Group.[13]

In April 2020, workers of the Tabas coal mine protested against the poor conditions, especially with the coronavirus. They were concerned about the dining hall, proximity of workers, and closed work environment worsening coronavirus risks. Though many mines were closed following the COVID-19 outbreak, the Tabas coal mine started operations again on April 26.[14] Families of the workers also protested against the re-start of Tabas operations.[15]


In early April 2008, workers at Tabas plant walked out over unpaid salaries.[16]

On May 12, 2015, 150 workers at Tabas plant stopped working to protest the 1.5 months delay in their salaries. The workers also cited poor working conditions that have resulted in death and injury, as reasons for their protest.[17]

On May 25, 2015, workers at Tabas plant protested in front of the management office about not getting paid their wages for 4 months and “poor services.”[18]

In April 2016, workers employed for the Tabas plant protested for not receiving their pay. They were concerned about their employee-employer contracts and worried about getting fired due to financial costs.[19]

In November 2017, former workers of the Tabas plant protested after being fired from their jobs. It is said that 250 workers were fired due to financial problems.[20]

In March 2017, about 50 workers from the Tabas plant gathered in front of the Tabas governor’s office to demand their three-month missing wages. Protestors said that none of the mine’s managers were being held accountable for missing wages.[21]

Project Details

  • Sponsor: Tavanir Corp
  • Parent company: MAPNA Group, Shanghai Electric (of parent company State Power Investment Corporation)
  • Developer:
  • Location: Tabas, Khorasan, Iran
  • Coordinates: 33.227766, 56.2413204 (exact)
  • Status: Cancelled
  • Capacity: 650 MW (Units 1-2: 325 MW)
  • Type:
  • Start date:
  • Coal Type:
  • Coal Source: Tabas region, South Khorasan Province
  • Source of financing: The Government of Iran;[9] Export Development Bank of Iran;[10] US$1 billion in debt from Chinese financial institutions, including US$850 million from Export-Import Bank of China[11][12]
  • Permits and applications:

Articles and resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Chinese LC for Tabas Power Plant," Financial Tribune, March 5, 2015
  2. "Current projects," Omran Azarestan Construction Co., accessed August 2014.
  3. Diarmaid Williams, "Iran plans $1bn coal fired power plant," Power Engineering International, November 28, 2012
  4. "Design and construction of civil works, Tabs Fossil-Fuel Power Station," Omran Azarestan, 05/03/2012
  5. "Gov't to develop coal plants," Iran Daily, November 24, 2014
  6. "China to build Iran’s first coal-fired power plant," Energy Central, December 15, 2016
  7. "Iranian Coal Potential Untapped," Financial Tribune, December 25, 2017
  8. "عملیات اجرایی ساخت واحدهای بخار نیروگاه زغال‌سوز طبس آغاز شد," Tasmin News, July 23, 2020
  9. 9.0 9.1 (2015-03-05). "Chinese LC for Tabas Power Plant". Financial Tribune. Retrieved 2020-11-12.
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Coal Power Plant Project Runs Into Controversy," FT, December 22, 2016
  11. 11.0 11.1 "China's Expanding Overseas Coal Power Industry: New Strategic Opportunities, Commercial Risks, Climate Challenges and Geopolitical Implications" (PDF). EUCERS. 2016.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Slowing the Growth of Coal Power Outside China: The Role of Chinese Finance, Climate Policy Initiative, Nov. 2015
  13. "Coal Co. Sets Concentrate Production Target at 2m Tons p.a.," Financial Tribune, July 9, 2015
  14. "Tabas coal miners protest against the start of work," Iran Freedom, translated by Google, April 2020
  15. "Facebook Post," Nahid Javid, translated by Google, March 20, 2020
  16. "More than 400 sacked workers of Iran-Sadra Shipyard ended the 8th day of their protest," National Council of Resistance of Iran, April 7, 2008
  17. "Negin coal miners strike in Tabas," Radio Zamaneh, translated by Google, May 12, 2015
  18. "Iran: nationwide workers' protest and strike has created a crises in the country," People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran, May 27, 2015
  19. "Facebook Post," Maryam Mohseni, translated by Google, April 15, 2016
  20. "Protested workers fired from the Tabas coal mine," Steelpedia, translated by Google, November 27, 2017
  21. "Facebook Post," Maryam Mohseni, translated by Google, March 4, 2017

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