General Electric has signed an agreement with Iraq to set up new power plants and expand capacity at existing units in the country.
The deal, which was signed between the US conglomerate and Iraq’s Ministry of Electricity, also aims to maintain installed power generation and transmission infrastructure, establish new substations to relieve grid congestion and boost the connectivity between the Jordanian and Iraqi power grids, GE said on Thursday.
“There is an urgent need to address the current electricity shortfall across Iraq and meet the growing power needs of the people to accelerate the nation’s sustainable economic development,” Ziad Fadhil, Iraq’s Electricity Minister, said.
The deal “builds on our previous collaborations and scales up efforts in driving efficiencies and delivering access to more affordable, reliable, and sustainable power as we transition to a lower carbon intensity energy future.”
In 2020, GE signed agreements valued at $1.2 billion with Iraq to upgrade power plants, improve grid stability and facilitate financing.
In 2018, Siemens and GE signed preliminary agreements to add 11 and 14 gigawatts respectively to Iraq’s power infrastructure.
Despite billions of dollars spent on infrastructure since the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, many Iraqi cities and towns still experience severe power cuts and rolling blackouts.
Iraq’s electricity network losses are among the highest in the world. As per the Iraq Energy Institute, about 30 per cent to 50 per cent of electricity generated is lost due to an inadequate transmission and distribution network.
The Arab country’s electricity demand is set to double between 2019 and 2030, and its shortfall in electricity supply will widen, as the country’s population grows by more than 1 million each year, according to the International Energy Agency.
“Strengthening the power infrastructure in Iraq not only meets rising energy needs but also serves as a springboard for economic growth,” Joseph Anis, chief executive of GE Gas Power Europe, Middle East, and Africa, said.
“We have added up to 19 gigawatts of capacity in the country in little more than a decade … and have supported the government of Iraq to secure over $2.4 billion in funding for energy sector projects since 2015.”