Iran Water and Power Resources Development Company (IWPC) is the developer of the 1.5GW Bakhtiari hydroelectric power project. Image courtesy of Mohit Ab Gostar Consulting Engineering Company.
At a planned height of 325m, the Bakhtiari dam will be one of the tallest concrete dams in the world. Image courtesy of urbanworkbench.
The Bakhtiari hydroelectric power station will be connected to the Iranian grid though a 400kV transmission line. Image courtesy of Gavin Fordham.

The Bakhtiari hydroelectric project, located in the Lorestan province of Iran, involves the construction of one of the world’s tallest concrete dams and a 1,500MW hydropower station on the Bakhtiari River.

Iran Water and Power Resources Development Company (IWPC) is developing the project with an estimated investment of £1.8bn ($2.3bn).

While the dam construction works were started in April 2013, the project has suffered delays due to funding issues.

When completed, the Bakhtiari hydroelectric power project is expected to produce up to three billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity a year. The Bakhtiari dam is also intended to prevent the entry of river sediments into the reservoir of the Dez dam that was built in 1963.

Location and site details

The Bakhtiari hydroelectric power project is located in the lower part of the Bakhtiari River within the Zargos Mountains, on the border of Khuzestan and Lorestan provinces, in south-western Iran.

Originating from the Ghalikooh Mountains, Bakhtiari is one of the two main streams of the Dez River, which is a tributary of Iran’s largest and most water-rich Karun River.

The project site lies 5km upstream of the intersection of the Caeser and Bakhtiari rivers, and approximately 50km upstream of the Dez dam.

Bakhtiari dam and reservoir details

The Bakhtiari dam will be a 325m-high double-curvature, concrete dam with a crest length of 509m and a crest width of 10m.

The dam is designed to create a 59km-long reservoir with 58.7km2 of surface area and having a storage volume of 4.8 billion cubic metres (bcm).

Apart from power generation, the multi-purpose dam will also be utilised for flood control and to adjust water volume in the Dez River Basin.

Bakhtiari hydroelectric power plant make-up

The Bakhtiari hydroelectric power plant will comprise an underground powerhouse equipped with six 250MW vertical-axis hydro turbines.

The transmission facilities for the project will include a transformer cavern housing AC single-phase step-up transformers, high-voltage (HV) cable gallery, bus duct tunnels and related equipment, a control room, and a 400kV switchyard system.

The other components of the project will include water intake structures, two diversion tunnels, and two spillway tunnels running for a total length of 230m.

Power transmission

The electricity generated by the Bakhtiari hydroelectric power project will be evacuated into the Iranian grid system through a 400kV power transmission line.

Infrastructure facilities

The other infrastructure facilities for the project include a 3km-long permanent access road to the dam crest along with two bridges and the construction of office buildings and warehouses.

Contractors involved in the Bakhtiari dam and hydroelectric project

Sepasad Group, an engineering and construction company based in Iran, was contracted by IWPC for the construction works of the project, while Mahab Ghodss Consulting Engineering was subcontracted by Sepasad for the design and engineering works.

Moshanir Power Engineering Consultants provided engineering services for the dam’s diversion system and access ways.

Mohit Ab Gostar Consulting Engineering Company was engaged in the environmental studies of the Bakhtiari dam and power project.

A joint venture of Rahbord Energy and Sazeh Pardazi Iran (SPI) was responsible for the preparation of the project design document (PDD), as well as for regulatory approvals and registrations, and project monitoring activities.

Rahavar Consulting Engineers was contracted for the construction of a bridge over the Caeser River, while Abadgaran Nasr Kowsar Company (ABNKC) was contracted for the construction of internal roads for the Bakhtiari dam project.

Parsian Seismograph performed seismic surveys while Sabir Company was hired to provide geotechnical engineering services at the project site.