The government has given the green light to Iraqi provincial authorities to invest in power plants.
The move comes amid reports that the central government has almost given up hope of revamping the national grid on its own.
The move is also part of the government’s new policy to grant provincial authorities and private entrepreneurs a bigger say in the ailing power sector.
Previously, the provinces were only permitted to set up local power plants with a capacity not exceeding 30 megawatts. This condition has been removed, according to Faid al-Shamari, head of Najaf’s provincial council.
Shamari described the government’s decision as positive since it removes restrictions on investing in electricity by Iraqi provinces.
He said the Province of Najaf needed up to 600 megawatts while its share from the national grid is only 180 megawatts.
He said Najaf’s provincial council will make the best use of the new regulations and will give the building of new power plants in the province top priority.
Investments in electricity must come from provincial coffers, but Shamari said private investors, both Iraqi and foreign, were interested.
Granting private entrepreneurs a bigger say in the national grid follows bloody demonstrations protesting power shortages in several major cities in Iraq.
(Image: Bayji Power Plant)