Construction of the Karkheh plant began in early 1998, with the first generating unit commissioned in September 2002. The second and third units were commissioned in January and June this year respectively. The plant was designed mostly by foreign companies, but much of its equipment was made in Iran. The plant’s dam is 127m high and 3030m long, and has a reservoir with a storage capacity of 7.3Bm3.

The managing director of Iran’s Water Resources and Energy Development Company, Ali-Akbar Zahmatkesh, was reported as saying that the combined capacity of Iran’s hydroelectric power plants will reach 25,000MW by 2021, accounting for 25 per cent of the country’s overall generating capacity.