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Asia

Iraq to build solar and wind energy in response to power shortages

Oil-rich Iraq plans to spend as much as $1.6 billion on solar and wind energy projects over the next three years to address the country’s power shortage.

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According to Reuters, Iraq’s Ministry of Electricity has allocated an initial $200 million from next year’s budget to add 50 megawatts to the country’s power grid next year.

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Iraq has also sent invitations to 25 companies to build solar and wind power plants in the country, according to an electricity ministry official cited by Reuters. These include Japan’s Toyota Tsusho Corporation, Swiss engineering group ABB and Egypt’s Orascom Construction.

Iraq is reportedly experiencing power shortages, with electricity production only at 8,800 MW even though demand is estimated at 14,000 MW.

In its recently published report, the International Energy Agency said one of the main obstacles to Iraq’s economic and social development is the lack of a reliable electricity supply.

“Despite a significant increase in grid-based electricity capacity in recent years it is still far from being sufficient to meet demand,” the agency’s report said.

To address this, the I.E.A. said the existing power generation, distribution and transmission infrastructure has to be rehabilitated and upgraded, as well as rapidly expanded.

To date, most of the country’s energy comes from thermal, gas turbine and hydroelectric power stations. Other alternative energy sources, including solar in wind, remains untapped.

Over the coming years, the government of Iraq aims to generate 2 percent of its electricity from solar and wind power.

The world’s third-largest oil exporter, Iraq’s energy sector and its economy are greatly dependent on oil. The I.E.A. says Iraq’s energy-related carbon emissions were at around 100 million tons in 2010. – EcoSeed Staff



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