Iraq to build four power plants

Iraq has called for bids to build four power plants within the next year and a half as it works to meet its energy demands.

Iraq intends to take a step closer to meeting its electricity demand with four power plants to be built during the next 18 months.

The country's electricity ministry has invited bids for plants in Samawa, Diwaniya, Amarah and the port city of Basra, which would collectively increase output by 2,750 megawatts. As of April, Iraq produced 8,000mw, far from its total demand of 14,000mw, according to the government.

Karim Wahid, Iraq's electricity minister, resigned in June after violent street protests triggered by summer electricity shortages typical of the region. "Iraqis are not capable of being patient in their suffering," he said during his televised resignation.

Although the plants will help ease Iraq's power shortages, there were hurdles to overcome, said Bob Bryniak, the chief executive of the regional power consultancy Golden Sands Management.

"It's not just the generation. It's the transmission and the distribution," he said. "They've got a long way to go because there was a lot of damage done."

Since the four plants will exclusively produce electricity, they should cost less to build and be able to bring power online faster than the combined electricity and water desalination facilities common in the Gulf region, Mr Bryniak said.

The plants would be built within 18 months, Sami al Araji, the head of Iraq's National Investment Commission, told Bloomberg.

Iraq also hopes to bring an additional 9,000mw online in the next two years from facilities using equipment being supplied by Siemens and General Electric, which were commissioned in 2008.

Published: December 20, 2010 04:00 AM


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