Iraq is aiming to have around 12 000 MW of available capacity within a year from new and refurbished plants and from imports from neighbouring countries. In the face of soaring demand, Iraq’s current usable capacity is about 4400 MW. Most of the shortfall results from damage done to half the country’s 29 plants in the 2003 war. Some $600 million has been allocated to the Ministry of Electricity to bring in power before the end of this summer.

Three contracts totalling $850 m have been signed recently with US and Finnish companies for new plant. They are South Texas Co (500 MW, GE gas turbines), Washington Group (720 MW), and Wärtsilä (360 MW, diesel engines firing crude oil). 500 MW of the 1580 MWe total is expected to come on line by summer this year, and the balance by mid-2005.

Iraq currently buys in 130 MW from Turkey and Syria. It would like to buy from Kuwait, which has a power surplus, but political difficulties hinder such a move. Now a contract has been signed with Iran to import 100 MW, which will be available once a new 132 kV line has been finished. Iran will provide electrical energy for some parts of Iraq including the north of the country from late June An agreement, reached after talks between Iranian and Iraqi local officials in Tehran, will make possible the linking of certain regions of Iraq including the cities of Kalar, Dyareh, Darbandikhan and Garmian, to Iran’s power grid.