Authorities in Iraq say they will install “giant power generators” in Baghdad in their latest bid to put an end to power shortages.
The plants will have capacities of about 5MW – hardly ‘giant’, but the plan is to have more than 500 of them in place throughout the city by next summer, operated by private investors, but linked to the national grid.
Electricity shortages have worsened recently and Baghdad’s nearly 6 million people now have barely two hours of uninterrupted supply daily from the national grid.
The U.S. alone has invested more than $5 billion dollars [6 trillion Iraqi dinars] to revamp the grid. Billions more have been poured into the electricity system by the central government.
Nonetheless, power supplies are still much worse than before the U.S. overthrow of the former regime in 2003.
A new committee headed by the under-secretary of the Electricity Ministry, and comprising the Governor of Baghdad as well as other senior government officials, says it is time for Baghdadis to say “good-bye” to power shortages.
But many in Baghdad are skeptical and say all government promises to improve public services, including electricity, have come to nothing.
However, Baghdad’s Governor, Salah Abdulrazzaq [Salah Abdulrazeq] says it is different this time, saying all government departments will be involved in the effort to supply Baghdadis with continuous power supplies.
The idea this time is to install large power generators with a capacity of up to 5 megawatts in various neighborhoods throughout the capital.
Abdulrazzaq wants to have at least 500 such generators in place by the summer of 2011. These generators will be operated by private investors but linked to the national grid.
“The generators should produced about 1,750 megawatts of electricity,” he said.
It is the first time private investors are allowed to install power generators as part of the national grid. It is not clear what impact the hundreds of power generators will have on the environment particularly in densely populated neighborhoods.
Baghdad alone needs more than 3,500 megawatts to meet domestic consumption.
That means the government should divert up to 1,500 megawatts from the national grid to Baghdad of a total national power production that hovers around 5,500 megawatts.